Annual Report: Senegal 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Senegal 2010

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  • In January, nine men were sentenced to eight years' imprisonment for "indecent conduct and unnatural acts and conspiracy" on the basis of confessions extracted by security forces under torture. The men had been arrested following anonymous accusations about their sexual behaviour. They were all released in April after the Dakar Appeal Court overturned the convictions.
  • In June, three men and a teenage boy were arrested in the city of Darou Mousty, Louga region, after being anonymously denounced for alleged sexual acts "against nature". The teenager was released and the three adults were sentenced in August to prison terms ranging from two to five years' imprisonment. The men lodged an appeal, which had not been heard by the end of the year.

Torture and other ill-treatment

Several cases of torture and other ill-treatment of detainees in police stations were documented. Confessions extracted under torture were used to convict people after unfair trials.

  • In January, more than 20 students and young people detained after riots in the gold-mining town of Kédougou, about 700km south-east of Dakar, were reportedly tortured in order to extract confessions and incriminate others. Some of the detainees were given electric shocks. Others were beaten, kicked and punched while naked. Although several detainees told the court during their trial that they had been tortured, the judges and the prosecutor did not order an inquiry into the allegations. Nineteen defendants were sentenced to prison terms on the basis of their "confessions". They were pardoned in March by President Wade.

International justice - Hissène Habré

The authorities asserted throughout the year that the trial of Chad's former President Hissène Habré could not begin until they had received a certain amount of financial assistance, which international donors considered excessive. In 2006, the AU had called on Senegal to try Hissène Habré, who was living in exile in Senegal, for torture and other crimes committed during his rule.

In February, President Wade threatened to lift the judicial surveillance under which Hissène Habré had been placed and to remit him to the AU. A few days later, Belgium filed a case against Senegal before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) asking the ICJ to compel Senegal to take measures to prevent Hissène Habré from fleeing the country and to either prosecute him or extradite him to Belgium for trial. In May, the ICJ rejected the Belgian request.

In September, Hissène Habré's complaint against Senegal started to be examined before the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice for violations by Senegal of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, notably relating to the principle of non-retroactivity of penal legislation. The Court had not taken a decision on the issue by the end of the year.

Amnesty International visit/report

In April, an Amnesty International delegation visited Senegal to research human rights issues.

Senegal: Authorities must protect nine men at risk of homophobic attack (27 April 2009)