As he prepares to face judges in Dakar, Ousmane Sonko, the popular Senegalese opposition leader facing a rape trial, said on Wednesday that he will lead a “caravan of freedom” around the region.
Sonko, who has a large fan base in Senegal’s youth population, has branded the trial a political plot aimed at stifling his bid for president in the 2024 elections. Sonko, 48, has been charged with rape and making death threats against a Dakar beauty salon employee, allegations that he denies.
Sonko plans to return to Dakar by road and convert the 500-kilometer (310-mile) journey into a “caravan of freedom,” according to Sonko, who announced on social media that his convoy would leave Dakar on Thursday.
Abdou Karim diop, a public prosecutor, had earlier ordered a 10-year jail term for rape, or a minimum of five years for “corrupting the youth.” He would be barred from running in the polls under either sentence.