Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Senegal News: Ousmane Sonko on Life Support, Reports His Party and Legal Team

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By: Seringe ST Touray

Attorneys representing Ousmane Sonko, along with officials from his disbanded political party, announced on Thursday that despite his detention since late July and his ongoing legal battle with the authorities and the judiciary, he had been admitted to an intensive care unit in a hospital in connection with his hunger strike.

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While questioned by the AFP news agency, numerous government officials refrained from confirming or refuting reports of Mr. Sonko’s admission to the intensive care unit. Sonko, who has officially declared his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election, was incarcerated at the end of July on multiple charges, which includes incitement to rebellion, involvement in a criminal association linked to a terrorist group, and subversion of national security.

Sonko, who asserts that he is the target of a conspiracy aimed at preventing his participation in the upcoming presidential election, initiated a hunger strike on July 30, which has raised concerns about his health.

Me Ciré Clédor Ly, a lawyer representing Mr. Sonko, informed AFP that on Thursday afternoon, he visited the intensive care unit of the primary hospital in Dakar. During his visit, he was able to verify the presence of his client, Mr. Sonko, noting that the patient “has not recovered his senses since yesterday.”

Leaders affiliated with Sonko’s political party, Pastef, which was officially dissolved by the authorities in late July, shared an update across social media platforms stating that he was “hospitalized in the intensive care unit of Dakar’s primary hospital after experiencing a fainting episode” on the evening of Wednesday. At the age of 49, Sonko has been under hospital care since August 6. His advocates and legal representatives have consistently raised concerns about his deteriorating health.

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The ongoing confrontation between Mr. Sonko and the authorities has triggered multiple instances of violent protests since his indictment in a sexual misconduct case in 2021. President Macky Sall’s most prominent opposition figure received a suspended six-month prison sentence in May for defaming a minister, and in June, a two-year imprisonment term for involvement in a “corruption of youth” case.

Mr. Sonko vehemently claims to be the victim of a conspiracy, while the presidential camp accuses him of harboring seditious intentions. Despite his convictions, Mr. Sonko’s legal team insists that he remains eligible for candidacy. In contrast, the Ministry of Justice announced a week ago that his electoral rights had been revoked.

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