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Guinea jails opposition figure for ‘insurrection’

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The judge gave Onivogui a one-year sentence and fined him 30 million Guinean francs (2,500 euros, $3,000).

A Guinean court on Monday jailed a doctor and leader of an aid group for a year for crimes including calling for insurrection, after he campaigned against President Alpha Conde’s standing for a third term in 2020.

Arrested in November a few weeks after Conde’s fiercely opposed reelection, Mamady Onivogui leads the Sante Vie pour Tous (Health and Life for All) group in southeastern city Macenta, as well as being the local representative for opposition movement Elazologa (That Won’t Work).

A court on the outskirts of capital Conakry found him guilty Monday of inciting violence and insurrection, threats and offending the head of state.

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The judge gave Onivogui a one-year sentence and fined him 30 million Guinean francs (2,500 euros, $3,000).

At his trial late last month, prosecutors claimed he “used offensive words tending to disturb public order and tarnish the president’s honour”, calling for a 10-year sentence and a fine triple the final amount.

“I have never used offensive language about anyone at all,” Onivogui retorted, while his lawyer Salifou Beavogui said he would appeal.

“My husband fights every day for our city to have power, water and classrooms. I know that it’s in part because of that that people in high places wish him harm,” Onivogui’s wife Mamadama Sylla told AFP.

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Alpha Conde’s bid for a third term was met with months of demonstrations by both the political opposition and civil society groups, which the government countered with sometimes brutal force, and dozens of people died after the protests began in October 2019.

Conde, 83, was nevertheless reelected in the first round.

Since then, aid groups like Amnesty International have accused the government of carrying out a wave of arrests and of responsibility for the deaths of people in custody, allegations the government denies.

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Benin: Court confirms the re-election of President Talon

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The re-election of President Patrice Talon was confirmed Wednesday by the Constitutional Court of Benin.

Talon, 62, in power since 2016, won the April 11 poll alongside Vice President Mariam Chabi Talata, with 1,982,534 votes out of a total of 2,297,315 valid votes cast, according to the court.

The re-elected president is the 14th head of state of the Republic of Benin.

Some opposition parties boycotted the presidential election due to pre-election violence and their objection to President Patrice Talon’s quest for a second term.

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Somalia: Parliament votes to extend presidential term

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The lower house of Somalia’s parliament voted on Monday to extend the president’s term by two years.

It is about letting the African nation prepare for direct elections, said Mohamed Mursal Sheikh, speaker of parliament.

One hundred and forty-nine (149) lawmakers voted in favor of the proposal which one rejected and three abstained, Mursal said.

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Senegal opposition leader arrested as supporters rally

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Senegal’s opposition leader Ousmane Sonko was arrested in the capital Dakar on Wednesday, according to his lawyers, ahead of his scheduled court appearance to face a rape charge.

Hundreds of supporters rallied in the city before the 46-year-old was due to appear before a judge for the charge, which he has claimed is politically motivated.

“He has been notified of his arrest on charges of disturbing public order and participating in an unauthorised demonstration,” one of Sonko’s lawyers, Cheikh Khouraissy, told AFP.

Another of his lawyers, Etienne Ndione, confirmed this account.

Controversy has dogged Sonko since last month, when Senegalese media reported that an employee at a salon where he went to get a massage filed rape charges against him.

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The opposition leader challenged President Macky Sall in the 2019 vote, eventually finishing third in a race that delivered the incumbent a second term.

Sonko, the leader of the Pastef party, has denied the charges and accused the president of conspiring to remove him ahead of 2024 elections.

He was due to appear before a judge in Dakar on Wednesday to answer to the rape charge.

However an arrest warrant was issued before he reached the courthouse, Khouraissy the lawyer said.

Hundreds of opposition followers had followed his motorcade on the way to the court, sounding car horns and singing traditional songs, AFP journalists saw.

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Police officers tried to disperse them by firing tear gas canisters.

The rape allegation against Sonko comes as uncertainty grows over whether Sall, 59, will seek a third term.

Presidents in the former French colony of about 16 million people are limited to two consecutive terms, but Sall launched a constitutional review in 2016, raising suspicions he intends to run again.

Other presidents in West Africa — such as Guinea’s Alpha Conde or Ivory Coast’s Alassane Ouattara — have used constitutional changes to win third terms.

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