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Senegal’s main opposition leader on Monday was given a six-month suspended prison sentence by an appeals court in the West African nation over a defamation case brought against him by a government minister.
The court ruling against Ousmane Sonko prevents President Macky Sall’s most prominent political rival from running in next year’s presidential election, but can be appealed again.
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Sonko was ordered to pay 200 million West African francs ($336,000) in damages and interest by Judge Mamadou Cissé.
If Sonko doesn’t pay the fine, the judge can order his imprisonment.
A Senegalese opposition leader was issued a six-month suspended sentence in a defamation case brought against him by the nation’s tourism minister. (Fox News)
Senegal’s public prosecutor had requested a two-year sentence for “forgery, use of forgery, defamation and insults” in the trial brought by the Tourism Minister Mame Mbaye Niang.
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Sonko didn’t appear in court on Monday. In a statement made on Sunday, he announced that he would no longer respond to court summonses.
The popular opposition figure was sentenced in March by a lower court to a two-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay damages.
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There was a heavy presence of security forces around Dakar on Monday. Sonko’s supporters have taken to the streets in angry protests in the past after previous stages in the court process.