The Dakar High Court sentenced Déthié Fall to a six-month suspended prison sentence on Tuesday June 27 for having defied a ban on demonstrations and released Mame Diarra Fame in the same case. The two parliamentarians were tried with 82 other defendants, who were all released.
They were arrested on June 17, during a demonstration called by the opposition. This had been banned by the authorities, in particular because of “risks of trouble”.
Dakar and Casamance had been the scene of clashes that day that left three dead, according to the opposition which had estimated at 200 the number of people arrested across the country and demanded their release. Deputy Déthié Fall “constantly acknowledged having been the main organizer” of the June 17 demonstration. “He should be sentenced to six months suspended and a fine of 100,000 FCFA (152 euros),” said the president of the court, Ahmed Bâ.
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Regarding the deputy Mame Diarra Fame, the judge considered that “the facts of which he is accused are not sufficiently established”. “She is dismissed for the purposes of the prosecution,” he said. The prosecution had requested a year in prison, including six months for Déthié Fall and six months for Mame Diarra Fame. The court acquitted their 82 co-defendants due to “insufficiently established facts”.
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When they arrived in court on Monday morning, deputies Fall and Fame were cheered by the public who turned out in large numbers to support them. The main opponent, Ousmane Sonko, was also present among several executives of his movement. “I reject all these facts of which I am accused, claimed Déthié Fall. I did not participate in the demonstration because it did not exist. We are in Senegal. The right to demonstrate is enshrined in the Constitution,” added the parliamentarian.
“I was going to see Barthélémy Dias [maire de Dakar et figure de l’opposition] with my two children and I found myself in a police van. Now you have to tell me if in Senegal, the laws prohibit going to see friends, relatives or acquaintances”, pleaded for his part Mame Diarra Fame. The two deputies claimed to have been “abducted”, without “any respect” for their position.
Ahmed Aïdara condemned
In addition, the opposition mayor Ahmed Aïdara, who heads the commune of Guédiawaye (suburb of Dakar), was sentenced Monday to a month in prison, suspended, for having also defied the ban on the demonstration of June 17, by the court of Pikine, a neighboring town.
Tensions have been growing in Senegal since the Constitutional Council confirmed the invalidation, on June 3, of the national list of holders of the Yewwi Askan wi coalition for the July 31 legislative elections. Opponent Ousmane Sonko, third in the 2019 presidential election and declared candidate for that of 2024, as well as other opposition figures find themselves effectively excluded from the race.
The opposition is calling for the list to be reinstated and has threatened to prevent the elections from being held. She called for a new demonstration on Wednesday. Many civil society organizations have called on the opposition and the authorities in recent days for dialogue and restraint to avoid a escalade.