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Senegal Re-Jails Dissident Niang


FILE - Police officers stand in front of the courthouse where opposition leader Ousmane Sonko is appearing in front of a judge for a hearing in Dakar, Senegal, Nov. 3, 2022.

A Senegalese court Tuesday ordered prominent journalist and government critic Pape Ale Niang to be put back in jail, his lawyer said, less than a week after he had been bailed following a hunger protest.

One of his lawyers, Moussa Sarr, said Pape Ale Niang had been arrested again overnight and brought before a judge in Dakar on Tuesday.

Prosecutors allege Niang breached bail conditions by discussing his case on social media on Monday with a Senegalese activist living abroad, Sarr said.

The court "revoked the decision granting provisional release under judicial control," Sarr said. "He's going back to prison."

Niang, the head of the Dakar Matin online news site, is widely followed in Senegal for his regular columns on current affairs.

The case against him arose after he wrote about rape charges being faced by the country's main opposition leader, Ousmane Sonko.

He is accused of describing confidential messages about security arrangements for Sonko's interview with investigators on November 3, according to trade unions.

Among the accusations, Niang has been charged with "receiving administrative and military documents" and "spreading false news likely to bring public institutions into disrepute."

Prosecutors allege Niang breached bail conditions by discussing his case on social media on Monday with a Senegalese activist living abroad, Sarr said.

They are also pointing to a "tweet concerning the head of police," he said, without elaborating.

His detention sparked a wave of criticism from the press, civil society groups and Senegal's opposition, many of whom called for his release.

Senegal has a strong reputation for openness and press freedom in troubled West Africa, but this status is in decline, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Its 2022 Press Freedom Index ranked Senegal 73rd out of 180 countries -- a fall of 24 places compared with the 2021 assessment.


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