June 17, 2024

Senegal frees, deports Ousmane Sonko’s French lawyer

Juan Branco, a French-Spanish lawyer representing Senegalese opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, who was arrested and sentenced in Dakar over the weekend in connection with recent violence in Senegal, was freed on Monday under judicial surveillance before being deported.

Mr Branco, who entered Senegal illegally some days ago to assist in the defense of opposition lawmaker Ousmane Sonko despite a warrant for his arrest, was taken into custody on Friday evening in Mauritania following many days of searches.

His arrest came five days after Ousmane Sonko was charged with inciting insurgency and imprisoned.

Sonko has faced a slew of accusations in the last two years, alleging that they are intended to keep him out of politics as Senegal prepares for a presidential election in February 2024.

Branco is one of numerous attorneys representing the opposing party.

The French-Spanish lawyer has been the subject of a judicial inquiry and an international arrest warrant since mid-July.

The government has branded him as a publicity-hungry lawyer who has exacerbated the tension in the country in recent months.

According to the Senegalese Minister of Justice, he “tried to experiment with his theory of revolution and insurgency in Senegal.”

 

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