Senegal’s Opposition Lawyer Expelled After Defending Presidential Hopeful.
The French attorney representing Senegal’s opposition leader and presidential contender, Ousmane Sonko, has returned to Paris following his expulsion from the West African nation. Juan Branco had ventured into Senegal to represent Mr. Sonko, despite an existing arrest warrant against him.
Having entered the country despite the legal situation, Branco was eventually apprehended on Sunday on charges including assault, conspiracy, spreading false information, actions that could jeopardize public safety or lead to significant political turmoil, illegal residence, and contempt of court.
According to Robin Binsard, one of his legal representatives, Branco was released from prison on Monday and subsequently presented before a judge who placed him under judicial supervision. Following this, he was handed over to the police for deportation on orders issued by the interior minister.
During his time in detention, Juan Branco had undertaken a hunger and thirst strike, as confirmed by Senegalese Justice Minister Ismaïla Madior Fall.
Meanwhile, Ousmane Sonko, Branco’s client and a prominent opposition figure, is receiving medical care at Dakar’s primary hospital. This information was shared by the opposition leader’s now-dissolved political party, the Patriots of Senegal (Pastef).
Notably, Juan Branco drew significant attention when he announced a complaint in France against Senegal’s president in June, accusing him of “crimes against humanity.” This move coincided with a period of intense unrest in Dakar. Branco also sought the intervention of the International Criminal Court in The Hague to investigate President Macky Sall.