Thousands gather to support jailed Dakar mayor

 17 Jun 2017 - 12:44

Thousands gather to support jailed Dakar mayor
File Photo.


DAKAR, Senegal: Marking the Dakar mayor's 100 days in jail, thousands of his supporters gathered in the Senegalese capital with signs that read "Libre Khalifa", or free Khalifa in the socialist party’s red and black colors. 

Khalifa Sall was imprisoned for alleged corruption and embezzlement on March 8 and will likely participate in the legislative elections in jail as his lawyers are still pressing for his release.

“It’s the first time this is happening in Senegal, jailing the mayor for 100 days now," said his aide Khadija Sarr. "He has been isolated. But they have seen, the more they keep him in jail, the more he becomes popular. His detention keeps us determined to campaign and vote for him to win hands down in Dakar.”

A former ally of President Macky Sall -- no relation -- Khalifa Sall was arrested on suspicion of embezzling 1.8 billion CFA francs ($2.87 million).

He was charged a few days later and has been in detention since.

His lawyer Cire Cledor described the allegation as politically motivated.

“Winning the election, is different from winning the case. But willing the election will be a positive reminder that justice always wins,” said Cledor.

President Macky Sall has distanced himself from the mayor’s arrest saying the country has separation of powers and the judiciary is independent.

Mayor Khalifa Sall is also seen as a key opposition leader in the 2019 presidential election.