Senegal Alert: Political activist in police custody for defamation

Mamadou Lamine Massaly, an activist of the opposition Senegalese Democratic Party, was placed under a committal order by the Senegalese Gendarmerie on February 27, 2015.

The MFWA’s correspondent reported that the Gendarmerie had lodged a complaint against Massaly for “defamation and insulting behavior against a public body”.

Massaly was summoned for alleging that he had been “tortured by a political gendarmerie” while in custody making allegedly defamatory statements against Aminata Tall, President of the Senegalese Economic and Social Council.

Massaly was taken into police custody after a complaint had been lodged by Tall, who believed that she had been defamed by the statements by Massaly, a former party comrade, who called her a “political prostitute”.

MFWA urges Senegal to decriminalize speech offenses, such as defamation, in line with the binding decision of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights calling for restrictions on criminal defamation laws and ruling that imprisonment for defamation violates the right to freedom of expression.

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