Senegal lifts immunity of jailed Dakar mayor

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Dakar - Senegal's national assembly has lifted the parliamentary immunity of Dakar mayor Khalifa Sall, a leading opponent of President Macky Sall, opening the way for his trial on graft charges.

The mayor has been in pre-trial detention since March on what his supporters say are politically-motivated charges.

After a raucous debate, the deputies late on Saturday voted by 125 to 27 to back a report by a parliamentary commission calling for Sall's immunity to be lifted.

Earlier Saturday, security forces fired tear gas to break up a demonstration of dozens of his supporters outside the assembly, in the centre of the Senegalese capital, local media said.

In March, Sall, who is no relation to the president, was accused of misappropriating 1.83 billion CFA francs ($2.85 million) in city funds. He denies the charges.

Mayor of Dakar since 2009, he was elected to Senegal's parliament in July, and had been seen as a key contender for 2019 presidential elections.

Hundreds of his supporters, chanting "Khalifa until we die!", took to the streets of the capital last month to call for his release.

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