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Senegalese Opponent Vows Hunger Strike

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Firebrand Senegalese opposition politician Ousmane Sonko said Sunday he had started a hunger strike from custody after being arrested this week, as his lawyers condemned his arrest.

Senegal’s public prosecutor on Saturday announced seven new charges against the politician — a vocal critic of President Macky Sall who has faced a string of legal woes he claims are aimed at keeping him out of politics.

“In the face of so much hate, lies, oppression, persecution, I have decided to resist”, Sonko wrote, inviting “all political detainees” to join him on the strike.

One of them, the French national Juan Branco, appeared at the press conference despite Senegalese prosecutors filing an international arrest warrant against him on July 14.

“We came here to tell you that we were not afraid”, Branco said.

“I swear to defend a man, Ousmane Sonko, whose body carries the hopes of an entire people, and therefore, of all humanity.”

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.

The move sparked Senegal’s ire, with Foreign Minister Aissata Tall Sall lashing it as “childish and puerile” and falling far short of the benchmark needed for legal scrutiny.


Written by: Kevin Nwabueze

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