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Activist sentenced to two years in prison for defaming president

(MFWA/IFEX) - An opposition youth activist in Senegal was sentenced to two years imprisonment on October 20, 2011 over his protest letter to the Constitutional Council asking it to reject the third term candidacy of the incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade for the 2012 presidential election.

Malick Noel Seck, General Secretary for Socialist Convergence, a youth movement linked to the Senegalese Socialist party, has been in detention at the Criminal Investigations Department since his arrest on October 11. He was convicted on three counts of contempt of court, issuing death threats and assault.

Seck reportedly denounced the long silence of the Constitutional Council over attempts by President Wade to contest next year's election after serving his second term in office.

In a letter to the council, Seck wrote: "When we take to the streets, we will come in bigger numbers for you to account for your actions. Life is expensive, and so is death. Joining forces in this situation requires dignity. No one will say we did not give you the opportunity to take a united stand with us."

Seck's lawyers condemned the decision and expressed their interest in appealing the case.

The Constitutional Council will decide the validity of President Wade's candidacy in January 2012; elections are scheduled for February 26, 2012.

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