Amnesty International Report 2006 - Senegal
|Publication Date||23 May 2006|
|Cite as||Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2006 - Senegal, 23 May 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/447ff7b82.html [accessed 23 May 2013]|
Fighting came to a halt in the southern Casamance region. Reconstruction work and demining allowed refugees and displaced farmers to return home. Threats to freedom of expression continued and several journalists and political opponents were arrested. Impunity continued with the adoption of an amnesty law on past politically motivated offences.
Following the December 2004 peace agreement, which ended two decades of conflict in Casamance, reconstruction work and demining began in the region. This allowed refugees, former fighters and displaced farmers to return home. In February negotiations began on the implementation of the peace agreement but were hampered by divisions within rival factions of the Democratic Forces of Casamance Movement (Mouvement des forces démocratiques de Casamance, MFDC). Following the arrest of former Prime Minister Idrissa Seck in July (see below) and repeated intimidation of journalists and political opponents, President Wade faced increasing waves of protests from civil society groups and some political parties.
Arrest of Idrissa Seck
In July former Prime Minister Idrissa Seck was arrested and charged with threatening state security, an accusation that appeared to be politically motivated and unfounded. He was then charged with embezzlement of funds. He remained in prison and some of his defence rights were initially not respected, including the right to meet his lawyers in private. Several other people were briefly arrested or interrogated in connection with this case.
Threats to freedom of expression
Journalists and political opponents continued to be harassed and intimidated in an attempt to restrict freedom of expression.
- In May, Abdourahim Agne, the leader of the opposition Reform Party, was detained and charged with inciting the population to insurrection after he urged people to follow Ukraine's example and hold peaceful protests to drive President Wade out of office. Abdourahim Agne was provisionally released in June.
- In October, police shut down Sud FM, one of the major private radio stations, and detained about 20 staff after the station broadcast an interview with Salif Sadio, a military leader of the MFDC in which he called for the separation of Casamance from Senegal. The Minister of Information said the action had been taken because the interview might "threaten the security of state". All the Sud FM staff were released a few hours later and the radio broadcast signals re-established.
Despite public commitments by the authorities, no steps were taken to end impunity for human rights perpetrators. In January parliament passed a law that provides an amnesty for "politically motivated" offences committed between 1 January 1983 and 31 December 2004.
Hissène Habré case
Senegal did not give a positive answer to the extradition request and international arrest warrant issued by a Belgian judge and charging Chad's former president, Hissène Habré, with gross human rights violations committed during his 1982-90 rule. Hissène Habré has lived in Senegal since he was ousted from power in 1990. In November the Dakar Appeal Court declared itself "not competent" to rule whether to issue an extradition order in the case. A few days later, the authorities announced that the African Union (AU) should indicate who had jurisdiction to rule on this and declared that Hissène Habré would remain in Senegal pending the AU's decision.