Senegal's Supreme Court overturns ruling allowing opposition leader Sonko to run for president

© Muhamadou Bittaye, AFP

Senegal's Supreme Court on Friday overturned a judgment that had put detained political opponent Ousmane Sonko back in the 2024 presidential race, ruling that the case should be retried.

"The court overturns and annuls the decision of the Ziguinchor court of October 12 and returns the case to the Dakar high court" for a retrial, the court's president Ali Cire Ba said in the latest twist of a long-running legal battle.

Last month, a court in Ziguinchor, the southern city where Sonko is mayor, had cancelled Sonko's removal from the electoral roll.

The state had appealed the lower court's ruling.

"This decision does not suit us -- the case will be retried but the sponsorships will soon end," Babacar Ndiaye, one of Sonko's lawyers, told AFP on Friday.

Obtaining sponsorships is an essential step for presidential candidates.

"The decision is disappointing," added Bamba Cisse, another of Sonko's lawyers.

Sonko, 49, was convicted in absentia on June 1 of morally corrupting a young person and sentenced to two years in prison.

He denounced the trial as a plot to exclude him from the election.

In late July, he was arrested on other charges including fomenting insurrection, criminally associating with a terrorist body and endangering state security.

He has periodically been on hunger strikes since then.

The supreme court did not announce a date for his retrial.

ECOWAS setback

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