Senegal opposition leader indicted and released on bail

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Dakar

Senegal opposition leader Ousmane Sonko was indicted and released on bail under judicial supervision, his lawyer said, as he faces a rape accusation that has sparked violent protests.

Sonko’s release could help ease tensions that have buffeted one of West Africa’s most stable democracies in the past week, leaving at least eight dead in clashes between protesters and police, right group Amnesty International said on Monday.

“He (Sonko) has been indicted for rape and death threats and placed under judicial supervision. He is going home,” Sonko’s lawyer, Cheikh Koureyssi Ba, told Reuters.

Several hundred people gathered outside the courthouse waving flags and chanting “Free Sonko” on Monday morning before beginning to march. His supporters have called for three days of nationwide protests this week.

Much of Senegal’s capital Dakar was at a standstill in anticipation of further unrest, and army tanks patrolled downtown streets.—AP