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Senegalese religious leader arrested

2012-04-24 21:27

Dakar - Authorities say they have arrested a powerful religious leader in Senegal and 11 of his followers after two people were beaten to death.

Cheikh Bethio Thioune's arrest late on Monday comes amid criticism after he married a seventh wife, three more than is allowed under Islam.

Thies Prosecutor Ibrahima Ndoye told journalists that Thioune was personally implicated in the deaths late on Sunday.

However, his attorney Ousmane Seye told RFM radio that the prosecutor's comments were premature and convicted his client before a trial.

Police used tear gas on Tuesday to disperse scores of Thioune's followers who were calling for his release. Powerful religious leaders known as "marabouts" hold enormous influence in this mostly Muslim West African nation.