Senegal Opposition Leader Charged With Rape, Freed From Detention
Dakar, March 8 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 8th Mar, 2021 ) :A Senegalese judge charged opposition leader Ousmane Sonko with rape and freed him from detention pending an investigation on Monday, after his arrest last week sparked the West African state's worst unrest in years.
Sonko calls the rape allegation politically motivated.
"He's going home. He's free," said Etienne Ndione, one of Sonko's lawyers.
Opposition supporters, who had gathered in central Dakar and waved Senegalese flags on Monday morning, broke past police lines and entered a yard in front of the courthouse after Sonko's release was announced, chanting political slogans.
Police arrested the 46-year-old for public disorder on Wednesday after scuffles between his supporters and security forces broke out.
Sonko, accompanied by supporters, had been making his way to court for the rape case.
Military vehicles topped with machine guns were stationed in areas in Dakar where recent clashes took place, and a dozen others were seen passing Independence Square, in the heart of the city's government quarter where the presidential palace is located.
Schools in the capital have been ordered closed for a week.
Senegal's neighbours and the United Nations have expressed concerns about political tensions in the country, which is usually considered a beacon of stability in a volatile region.
The rape charge nonetheless comes amid uncertainty over whether the 59-year-old president will seek a third term.
Senegalese presidents are limited to two consecutive terms, but some fear Sall will seek to exploit constitutional changes approved in a 2016 referendum to run again.