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Senegal Swats Sonko Suit

fILE: Ousmane Sonko (C), President of the opposition party Senegalese Patriots for Work, Ethics and Brotherhood (PASTEF), waves good bye to his supporters at the HLM basic school in Ziguinchor on July 3, 2022.

PARIS — Senegal's foreign minister on Friday slammed as "childish and ridiculous" a lawsuit that opposition leader Ousmane Sonko has filed in Europe against President Macky Sall.

Ousmane Sonko's legal action "is both childish and ridiculous," Foreign Minister Aissata Tall Sall told Radio France Internationale (RFI) and France 24 on Friday.

She disputed that the judicial system in France - Senegal's former colonial power - could act in the role of universal jurisdiction.

Sonko alleges that deadly clashes following his sentencing to jail this month are the latest step in "a generalized and systematic attack on the civilian population" of Senegal, according to his lawyer, Juan Branco.

On Thursday Branco filed a criminal complaint against Sall with the Paris tribunal's crimes against humanity unit.

Sonko's case also targets Interior Minister Antoine Diome, military police chief Moussa Fall and 112 others.

The Senegalese opposition leader has also filed a separate complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

Sonko was sentenced on June 1 to two years in prison, which currently makes him ineligible to stand in next year's presidential election, sparking the protests which led to 16 deaths according to the government and 30 according to Sonko's party.

Turning to the ICC, the minister said the international court "cannot issue a judgement as long as there is a domestic justice system which is pursuing in the same case, and that is the situation in Senegal."

She referred to the seriousness of the disturbances in Senegal and the right of the security forces to defend themselves, and insisted that "independent" investigations were under way.

Sall was in Paris on Thursday and Friday for a global climate finance summit called by French President Emmanuel Macron.