Senegal UPDATE: Jailed opposition activist receives presidential pardon

Malick Noel Seck, an opposition youth activist in Senegal, was on January 11, 2012 given a presidential pardon, three months after his conviction on two counts of “contempt of court” and “insulting” President Abdoulaye Wade. Seck was jailed for two years on October 20, 2011 over a protest letter he wrote to the country’s Constitutional Court asking it to reject the third term candidacy of the incumbent, President Abdoulaye Wade, for the 2012 presidential election.

The Media Foundation for West Africa’s (MFWA) correspondent in Senegal reported that Seck, General Secretary for Socialist Convergence, a youth movement linked to the Senegalese Socialist party, served his sentence at the Tambacounda Prison in the south of Senegal.

Before the pardon, in the first week of January 2012, an Appeal Court in Dakar had reduced Seck’s sentence to a one year, four months of which were to be mandatory. Seck reportedly denounced the long silence of the Constitutional Court over attempts by President Wade to contest next month’s election after serving his second term in office.

According to the correspondent, during his trial in October 2011, Seck told the court that the letter he wrote was to sensitize the Constitutional Court and the Senegalese people on the immorality of President Wade’s candidacy.

“When we take to the streets, we will come in bigger numbers for you to account for your actions. Life is expensive, and so is death. Facing up to the situation requires dignity. No one will say we did not give you the opportunity to face up to us,” the protest letter that Seck wrote to members of the Constitutional Court said.

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Kwame Karikari (Prof)

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