1 Summary of the situation
For several months, the FIDHOP Units in charge of Legal and Judicial Affairs, as well as that dealing with Political Affairs have been regularly monitoring the socio-political situation in Senegal, specifically concerning the legal proceedings against the young political leader, OUSMANE SONKO, 48 years old, President of the Party of African Patriots of Senegal for Ethics, Work and Fraternity (PASTEF) and current Mayor of the city of Ziguinchor since 2022.
Considered as the main opponent of the regime of current President MACKY SALL and declared candidate for the next presidential election in Senegal, Mr. SONKO has been confronted since 2021 with the Senegalese justice system in many cases.
Thus, opened on May 16, for a charge of alleged rape under the threat of a weapon on a masseuse, the court has just condemned this day of the 1is June 2023 Mr. OUSMANE SONKO to two years in prison, not for rape, but for “youth corruption”. Leading to new clashes in the country.
Faced with such a verdict, FIDHOP (International Foundation for the Observation and Monitoring of Human Rights and Peaceful Life) raises the following questions and takes a stand.
2 FIDHOP questions itself and questions
- Why such judicial harassment against the young opponent OUSMANE SONKO, until a few months before the next presidential election in Senegal?
- How and why can Mr. OUSMANE SONKO finally be cleared in this scandalous rape case and nevertheless be sentenced to two years in prison, for it is said? “youth corruption” ? Does this mean that Senegalese youth would be irresponsible, manipulable?
- Going in the direction of the indictment of the prosecutor, who had requested ten (10) in prison in the event of rape and five (5) in the event that there would be no rape, does the court not confirm thus the thesis ofa conspiracy aimed at politically dismissing Mr. SONKO, a potential and formidable adversary, from the upcoming presidential election?
By proceeding in this way, isn’t President MACKY SALL, who has recently initiated a Political Dialogue, giving reason to those who maintain that he instrumentalizes justice to eliminate his main rival and grant himself a third term ?
This questioning justifies FIDHOP’s position in this matter.
3 The position of FIDHOP
- FIDHOP strongly denounces and condemns the absurd verdict of two years in prison against Mr. OUSMANE SONKO!
- FIDHOP denounces the instrumentalization – which has become recurrent in Africa – of justice, for polico-political ends!
- FIDHOP calls on the President of Senegal to immediately renounce any plans to run for a third presidential term; because contrary to the Constitution of the Republic of Senegal!