Senegalese opposition leader Sonko heads to Dakar for one last battle

As he prepares to meet judges in Dakar, prominent Senegalese opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, who is on trial for rape, said Wednesday he would lead a “freedom caravan” in the region.

Sonko, who has a strong following among Senegal’s young population, has described the trial as a political conspiracy aimed at stifling his bid for the presidency in 2024 elections. Sonko, 48, has been charged with rape and death threats against a Dakar beauty salon employee, which he denies.

Sonko plans to return to Dakar by road and turn the 500 km (310 mile) journey into a “freedom caravan”, according to Sonko, who announced on social media that his convoy would leave Dakar on Thursday.

Public prosecutor Abdou Karim Diop earlier ordered a 10-year prison sentence for rape or at least five years for “corrupting the youth”. He will also be banned from participating in the elections with a sentence.

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