Unable to Provide Proof of his Statements: Sonko Slips Through the Cracks on the Prosecutor’s Net – Lequotidien
Ousmane Sonko received a 2-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay 200 million CFA in damages to the civil party. The leader of the Patriots escaped the prison sentence that the public prosecutor had requested. The prosecutor wanted to be clear: “From now on, nothing will be forgiven Ousmane Sonko”. Moreover, the prosecution has appealed yesterday’s verdict.
2 months suspended sentence and 200 million Cfa to be paid to Mame Mbaye Niang in damages! Ousmane Sonko was found guilty of defamation. He nevertheless escapes the prison that the prosecutor had requested. Indeed, the public prosecutor had requested 2 years in prison including 1 year firm for defamation, 2 years including 1 year firm for forgery and use of forgery and 3 months for insults, in addition to the warrant of deposit.
“Mr. President, here is a man who never wanted to appear before your Court. The only time he did, it was take on the institution that is justice. Here is a man who insults everyone; the magistrates, the personalities of this country and attacks, at each outing, State institutions” underlined the prosecutor in his indictment. The master of prosecutions even warned the mayor of Ziguinchor, who was absent from court yesterday, in these terms: “From now on, nothing will be forgiven Ousmane Sonko. I know my words will be reported to him. But I wish he was here to hear what I have to say to him. For such a simple case, we are holding a whole people hostage. That’s enough! It has to stop! It is not excessive to ask for the condemnation of Ousmane Sonko and to ask for an arrest warrant against him”.
For this 3rd hearing, Ousmane Sonko’s lawyers came up against the rigor of judge Mamadou Yakham Keita called to replace at short notice the magistrate Pape Mouhamed Diop who excused himself from the case. Despite the insistence of Sonko’s lawyers to postpone the trial, on the pretext of the entry refusal of Lawyer Juan Branco who was returned to Paris on Wednesday evening, the judge insisted on continuing with the trial.
A decision that prompted the counsels of the Patriot in chief to leave the courtroom. A situation that had no incident on the course of events. Indeed, the civil party explained that the defendant added press articles to the file but never brought the famous report. In any case, in the absence of their client, Sonko’s lawyers could not have spoken to the judge. Their cinema therefore changed absolutely nothing in the trial.
“Until the sun goes down, we will not see a report from the General Inspectorate of Finance (IGF). For the simple and good reason that the Igf is not competent to audit a minister,” said Lawyer Moustapha Dieng. An idea shared by Lawyer Adama Fall who underlined that Ousmane Sonko, “a trained judge and tax inspector knows better than anyone the financial authorities. Therefore, he knows that there was no IGF report. He was in bad faith. All he had to do was recognize his mistake and ask for forgiveness, but he did not do so, preferring to bring Mame Mbaye Niang to disrepute. For lawyer Baboucar Cissé, this case is easy to empty. “The defendant relied on press articles and a book but I must tell you that Sen TV, Walf and L’As apologized (…) after talking rubbish, Birahim Seck approached Mame Mbaye Niang’s father to apologize,” he added to prove the lack of evidence to establish embezzlement.
The prosecution was not satisfied with a verdict unanimously hailed as lenient. So they appealed. Ousmane Sonko will therefore have, if he wishes next time, the possibility of finally defending himself.