Nine activists jailed for protesting
Nine activists, Guy Marius Sagna, Mamadou Diao Diallo, Malick Biaye, Pape Abdoulaye Touré, Babacar Diop, Souleymane Diockou, Ousmane Sarr, Souleymane Ndjim and Fallou Galass, were arrested on 29 November 2019 in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, and charged with “participation in an unauthorised gathering”. Eight of them have been held in detention since then and are on hunger strike. The health of two of the activists has deteriorated since.
On 26 November, the national company of electricity, Senelec, announced an increase of the price of electricity for customers, deemed necessary by the state, following the increase in the price of oil.
Civil society and pro-democracy movements decided to protest against the price increase.
On 29 November, the Prefect of Dakar invited a representative from these movements to a meeting, asking them to change the itinerary of the march, initially planned from Place of Nation to the Gate of President House in Dakar. The Prefect of Dakar suggested the organisers use a new itinerary from the Place of Nation to the Head office of the national television broadcaster RTS.
The representatives of the civil society and pro-democracy movements proposed to organise the protest in Front of the Head Office of the electricity company, which the Prefect refused.
Five organisations, Democracies forces of Senegal (Les Forces Démocratiques du Sénégal), Red vests (Gilets Rouges), Senegal Our Priority (Sénégal Notre Priorité), Nittu Dëgg and the Front for a Popular Anti-Imperialist Revolution and Pan-African (FRAAP), decided to maintain the first itinerary, ending the march in front of President House and handing the President a letter.
The nine activists were arrested during the protest in front of the gates of the President’s palace.
Guy Marius Sagna is a prominent activist in Senegal. In July, he was arbitrarily detained and charged with false alert of terrorism. He was released on bail on16 August.
Minister of Justice
Mr Malick Sall
Avenue Jean JAURES, ex ambassade des Etats Unis
I am writing to you with regard to nine activists who were arrested in Dakar, on 29 November 2019, in connection with their participation in a peaceful protest against the increase of the price of electricity. Eight of them have since been detained in prisons in Dakar.
Guy Marius Sagna, Mamadou Diao Diallo, Malick Biaye, Pape Abdoulaye Touré, Babacar Diop, Souleymane Diockou, Ousmane Sarr, Souleymane Ndjim and Fallou Galass have been charged with “participation in an unauthorised gathering”.
Guy Marius Sagna, coordinator of Front for a Popular Anti-Imperialist Revolution and Pan African (FRAAP), has been also charged with “provocation of gathering” and “rebellion”. Souleymane Ndjim was released on bail on 4 December. The eight other activists were transferred to three different prisons in Dakar: Rebeuss, Camp Penal and Cap Manuel.
The eight activists that remain in prison have been on hunger strike since 3 December and are only accepting water, in protest against their detention. According to their lawyer, the health of Malick Diallo Biaye and Babacar Diop has quickly deteriorated since and the hunger strike is putting their health at increased risk.
In light of the above, I urge you to:
• Immediately and unconditionally release the activists and drop all charges against them, as they have been detained solely for the exercise of their right to peaceful assembly;
• In the meantime, ensure that Malick Diallo Biaye and Babacar Diop have prompt access to the medical care they require;
• Refrain from initiating further prosecutions against individuals for simply exercising their right to peaceful assembly;
• Repeal legal instruments providing for blanket bans on peaceful demonstrations, including the 2011Decree banning all demonstrations in parts of the city centre of Dakar;