Senegal opposition chief Ousmane Sonko to be arraigned over rape allegation

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Senegalese opposition MP and presidential candidate, Ousmane Sonko, delivers a speech as he launches his campaign for the upcoming presidential election on February 3, 2019, in the district of Ngor in Dakar. (Photo by SEYLLOU / AFP) (Photo by SEYLLOU/AFP via Getty Images)

Ousmane Sonko, the leader of Senegal’s leading opposition party says he will appear in court on Wednesday to answer questions over rape allegations.

Senegalese opposition MP and presidential candidate, Ousmane Sonko, delivers a speech as he launches his campaign for the upcoming presidential election on February 3, 2019, in the district of Ngor in Dakar. (Photo by SEYLLOU / AFP) (Photo by SEYLLOU/AFP via Getty Images)

The summons for his appearance came after Senegal’s parliament voted late last week to strip Sonko of his legal immunity, paving the way for a police investigation of the case.

Controversy has surrounded him since February when Senegalese media reported that an employee of a salon where he went to get a massage filed rape charges against him.

Sonko has since denied the charges and says this move is meant to ensure he doesn’t contend in the 2024 elections.

The 46-year-old challenged President Macky Sall in the 2019 vote, eventually finishing third in a race that delivered the incumbent a second term.

Sonko told reporters late on Tuesday that he would obey the summons, but would not give up the fight.

“We will go to the judge, but it is not an abdication,” he said.

 

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