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Juan Branco urges Senegal's government to release political prisoners

French lawyer Said Larifou and French-Spanish lawyer Juan Branco, give a press conference in Paris, on August 8, 2023   -  
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ALAIN JOCARD/AFP or licensors


Juan Branco, who is the expelled lawyer to the embattled Senegalese opposition leader Ousmane Sonko has urged President Macky Sall to release all political prisoners.

Branco was speaking for the first time in France since his forceful eviction from Senegal.

The Franco-Spanish lawyer urged the government of President Macky Sall to allow for a democratic transition in the forthcoming Presidential elections.

"I call on Macky Sall to ensure that my release is the first and that it opens the door to the release of all political prisoners so that the democratic transition demanded by the Senegalese people can once again take place. I call on him to stop the violence he is inflicting on Ousmane Sonko, and to let him stand freely in the forthcoming elections," said Branco.

On June 22, Branco said he had filed a criminal complaint against Sall in France for "crimes against humanity", and had requested a probe by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

His initiatives also named Interior Minister Antoine Felix Abdoulaye Diome and gendarmerie chief General Moussa Fall among more than 100 others accused.

"I've seen bodies shot through with bullets. I have seen the wounds, the photographs of which I was asked to forward, the documentary evidence of which was sent to the International Criminal Court and the French courts. I have seen them with my own eyes," said Branco.

Branco gained notoriety in Senegal after joining the legal team of Sonko, a firebrand politician and President Macky Sall's fiercest critic, who has faced a series of legal troubles since 2021.

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