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Former journalist detained for ‘offending’ President

A former journalist and critic of Senegal’s President Macky Sall was in custody on Tuesday waiting to hear if he will be charged with “offending the head of state”, his lawyer said.

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Adama Gaye, who describes himself as an activist for “justice, transparency and progress”, has written numerous articles for local media and social networks accusing the Dakar authorities of mismanagement, particularly in the oil and gas sector which is set for major expansion in the coming years.

He was called in for questioning on Monday by Dakar’s criminal investigation division for “putting out stories contrary to good morals” and offending the president, his lawyer Cheikh Khouraissy Ba told AFP.

Local reports said Gaye had been detained following several recent posts on Facebook about the head of state’s private life.

The lawyer said the case was now with the prosecutor, who has four days from Monday evening to decide whether to press formal charges.

“I consider myself as a prisoner of opinion, a political detainee held for his writing about exact facts, questions that are vital for the national sovereignty of Senegal, particularly the mananagement of hydro-carbon resources,” Gaye told AFP on Tuesday in the presence of his lawyer.

Gaye has regularly questioned the role of the president and his brother Aliou Sall in the oil and gas industry.

Aliou Sall resigned at the end of June as head of a state-run savings fund following a BBC report into the awarding of off-shore prospecting and exploitation rights to Petro-Tim, part of the Timis Corporation.

Aliou Sall, who had been hired by Timis — which is run by Australian-Romanian businessman Frank Timis — denied any conflict of interest but had stepped down from his post in the Timis group in 2016.

The BBC investigation intensified pressure on the president with protests from opponents and civil society demanding “transparency” in oil and gas contracts.

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