Reacting to the multiple restrictions on civic space and arbitrary arrests and detentions, Habibatou Gologo, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa, said:
“The journalist Papé Alé Niang was arrested on the weekend of 29 July and then placed under a committal order on 1 August simply for doing his job as an independent journalist, investigating so-called sensitive political and legal cases. According to his lawyer, the prosecutor provided no evidence to justify the charges against his client. Amnesty International is calling for his immediate and unconditional release.
The media reported the deaths of at least three people on Monday 31 July following the violent demonstrations that broke out in various towns around Senegal. Amnesty International is calling on the authorities to investigate these deaths, together with all those recorded since March 2021.
The authorities should respect human rights, stop arbitrarily detaining journalists, members of the opposition and civil society, and respect rights to freedom of expression and information by immediately lifting the suspension of mobile Internet and the social networking site TikTok.”
On the weekend of 29 July 2023, the journalist Papé Alé Niang, who was on bail at the time, was arrested and detained before being charged and placed under a committal order for calls to insurrection and acts or operations likely to compromise public security. Head of the news website Dakar matin, the journalist had commented on the arrest of Ousmane Sonko on 28 July in a video that was broadcast live on social media. Several other members of the PASTEF party, including the mayor of Parcelles Assainies and the mayor of Patte d’Oie, were arrested on 1 and 2 August and are being prosecuted for calling for insurrection and acts or manoeuvres likely to compromise public security.
On 31 July, the Senegalese authorities also ordered the dissolution of the PASTEF-Les Patriotes political party and suspended the Tik Tok social network and mobile internet connections.
Demonstrations broke out on 31 July following the arrest and committal order of opposition politician Ousmane Sonko. At least six people died during these protests, two of them as a result of a bus fire in Dakar.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Amnesty International.