Senegal FM calls opposition suit in EU against president 'childish'
Opposition leader Ousmane Sonko claims that fatal clashes after being sentenced to jail this month are "a generalized and systematic attack on the civilian population" of Senegal.
The lawsuit filed by Senegalese opposition leader Ousmane Sonko in Europe against President Macky Sall was called "childish and ridiculous" by the country's Foreign Minister on Friday.
Sonko claims that deadly clashes following his sentencing to jail this month are the latest step in "a generalized and systematic attack on the civilian population" of Senegal, according to his lawyer, Juan Branco.
Branco filed a criminal complaint against Sall on Thursday with the Paris tribunal's crimes against humanity department, as Sonko's lawsuit also targets Interior Minister Antoine Diome, military police chief Moussa Fall, and 112 other people.
In addition, a separate complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has also been filed by Sonko.
Foreign Minister Aissata Tall Sall told Radio France Internationale (RFI) and France 24 on Friday that the lawsuit "is both childish and ridiculous," arguing that the French judicial system could act in the role of universal jurisdiction.
This comes during Sall's presence in Paris on Thursday and Friday for a global climate finance summit hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Sonko was sentenced this month to two years in prison, making him unqualified to stand in next year's presidential election, which sparked protests that killed 16, according to the government, but 30 according to Sonko's party.
Clashes broke out between police and protesters after announcing his sentencing, as buses were set alight in the capital Dakar and disturbances were reported elsewhere, including the city of Ziguinchor, where Sonko, the head of the PASTEF-Patriots party, has been mayor since 2022.
Turning to the ICC, the Senegalese FM stated that the international court "cannot issue a judgment as long as there is a domestic justice system which is pursuing in the same case, and that is the situation in Senegal."
She assured that "independent" investigations were underway, as the European Union and France expressed concern over the violence.
Amnesty International urged authorities to stop "arbitrary arrests" and lift restrictions on access to social networks. Similarly, the NGO Reporters Without Borders also called on authorities to fully restore internet access.