The hemicycle of the National Assembly in Dakar, August 1, 2001. SEYLLOU DIALLO / AFP
Two Senegalese opposition MPs were sentenced to six months in prison on Monday January 2 for beating a majority colleague in the National Assembly, an AFP journalist noted.
On December 1, MP Massata Samb attacked his colleague Amy Ndiaye from the podium over comments she had made against Moustapha Sy, the leader of a party that is a member of the main opposition coalition, the Parti de Unity and Gathering (PUR). not an MP, but an influential marabout in Senegal.
The looping images are widely perceived as showing Massata Samb punching the MP and his colleague Mamadou Niang kicking him in the stomach in the middle of a public session.
Amy Ndiaye was hospitalized after the incident and is at risk of losing the baby she is carrying, her lawyer Baboucar Cissé said at the trial. She was discharged from hospital but is “in an extremely difficult situation,” he added.
The sacred status of marabouts
The two parliamentarians, who have been in prison since December 15, were tried by the court on December 19 for flagrante delicto in Dakar. He also demanded on Monday that they each pay a fine of 100,000 CFA francs (about 150 euros) and “jointly and severally” damages of 5 million CFA francs (about 7,600 euros) for “deliberate beatings and injuries” to Amy Ndiaye, deputy to pay the presidential party. The public prosecutor’s office had asked for a two-year reprieve.
The two deputies were not present when the verdict was read out on Monday. “You will remain in prison until we appeal,” one of her lawyers, Abdy Nar Ndiaye, told AFP. Despite the pictures, she denied hitting her colleague during the trial.
Also read: In Senegal, the two MPs who hit a colleague in the middle of a parliamentary session have been arrested
The defense of the two MPs had argued that the trial could not go ahead given their clients’ parliamentary immunity, but the court ignored this. The incident was seen as symptomatic of tensions between the opposition and the majority, of violence against women, but also of the sanctity of marabouts.
The presidential camp lost its absolute majority after July’s parliamentary elections, which gave the assembly a virtual balance of power in a tense political context. President Macky Sall, elected to a seven-year term in 2012 and re-elected to a five-year term in 2019, is silent on his intentions for the 2024 presidential election.