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Ousmane Sonko, Senegal’s Opposition Leader, Hospitalized After One Week of Hunger Strike in Prison

DAKAR, Senegal — Ousmane Sonko, the opposition leader in Senegal who has been on a hunger strike in prison to protest against criminal charges, has been hospitalized, according to his party. Sonko was imprisoned last week in preparation for criminal proceedings related to charges of insurrection and conspiracy against the state. The reason for his hospitalization at the Main Hospital in downtown Dakar is not clear at this time. Sonko, who previously had no known illnesses, announced the hunger strike on July 30th, the day before he was ordered into imprisonment by a judge in Dakar. These charges came shortly after Sonko was convicted in a separate case of corrupting youth and was sentenced to two years in prison. His supporters believe that these charges are part of a government effort to prevent his candidacy in the 2024 presidential election.

The hospitalization of Ousmane Sonko follows the recent arrest and extradition of his lawyer, Juan Branco, who is now also in prison in Dakar. Branco was arrested in Mauritania and is facing charges of disseminating false information and conspiracy against the state. These developments have raised concerns about the ongoing political situation in Senegal.

Unique Perspective: The situation surrounding Ousmane Sonko and his hunger strike raises questions about the state of democracy and political dissent in Senegal. The arrest and detention of opposition leaders, as well as the use of charges to suppress political opposition, are worrisome trends that undermine democratic principles. It is crucial for governments to respect the rights of individuals to express their views and engage in peaceful protest without fear of retribution. The international community should closely monitor the situation in Senegal and advocate for the protection of human rights and democratic values.

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