Leading Senegal MP arrested after protesting ally's fraud sentence

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(iStock)
(iStock)

Prominent Senegalese lawmaker Barthelemy Dias has been arrested for insulting the judiciary after close ally Khalifa Sall was jailed for fraud, his lawyer said on Saturday.

Dias is a strong supporter of Sall, the popular Dakar mayor who was sentenced on Friday to five years in prison, a punishment that will rule him out of a presidential election due next February.

The dissident Socialist Party MP was arrested after he made disparaging remarks about the judges in the Sall case. Dias remained in detention on Saturday, his lawyer El Hadji Diouf said.

Supporters of the mayor, accused of misappropriating the equivalent of $2.8m million in public funds, had protested loudly in the packed courtroom at the verdict against him.

"Such comments constitute an intolerable attack on the honour of the magistrates concerned and on the dignity of the entire judiciary," the Union of Senegalese Magistrates said in a statement, without elaborating on what Dias had actually said.

Both Dias and Sall were banned from the Socialist party in December for alleged violence and disciplinary offences.

Sall, 62, had denied the charges against him, but Friday's verdict will delay a growing challenge against incumbent President Macky Sall, no relation.

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