Senegal Clashes Kill 9 People After Opposition Politician Sentenced
© AFP 2023 GUY PETERSONA women walks past a burning fire near police in Dakar on June 1, 2023, during unrest following the sentence of opponent Ousmane Sonko. A court in Senegal on Thursday sentenced opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, a candidate in the 2024 presidential election, to two years in prison on charges of "corrupting youth" but acquitted him of rape and issuing death threats.
© AFP 2023 GUY PETERSON
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Nine people were killed in Senegal in clashes that broke out after Senegalese opposition politician Ousmane Sonko had been sentenced to two years in prison, Senegalese Interior Minister Antoine Diome said Friday.
The minister, in a televised appearance on the Senego broadcaster, also announced the restriction of access to some mobile applications and social media, saying that it would prevent the spread of hate speech and calls for protests, which could exacerbate an already tense situation in the country.
A court in Senegal's capital Dakar found Sonko guilty of "corrupting youth" on Thursday. The complaint against the politician had been filed by a former employee of a beauty salon where he used to receive massages. However, Sonko was acquitted of the charges of rape and death threats. The trial was held in absentia, and it was up to the prosecutor to decide whether to arrest the politician.
The court's decision jeopardized Sonko's right to run in the next year's presidential election under the country's law, local media reported.
The Senegalese Interior Ministry said in February that the next presidential election in the country would be held on February 25, 2024, amid a tense political situation in the country.
After the 2016 referendum, a Senegalese president is elected for a five-year term and can be the president for no more than two consecutive terms.
Incumbent President Macky Sall was elected for his first term in 2012 and the second term in 2019.