“Senegalese authorities should immediately release Abdou Khadre Sakho and drop all legal proceedings against him and other journalists being targeted for their political reporting,” said Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, in Durban, South Africa. “The recent surge in the harassment and detention of journalists in Senegal on spurious grounds should stop at once, and the media must be allowed to play its rightful role by informing the public.”
Police summoned Sakho, a reporter with the privately owned Senego news website, to the Division of Criminal Investigations in the capital, Dakar, on Tuesday, according to the outlet’s editor-in-chief, Mangoné Ka, and assistant editor-in-chief, Cheikh Tidiane Kandé, who both spoke to CPJ by phone.
The editors said that police wanted to question Sakho over an article published Sunday, August 13, about alleged secret negotiations for the release of opposition politician Ousmane Sonko, who was charged with insurrection and jailed last month.
Ka told CPJ that the police also summoned him on Monday, questioned him about his work and that article, and released him that evening without charge.
Senegal has cracked down on the media ahead of February’s elections. Sonko is facing a mounting number of charges that could disqualify him from running for president. Authorities have held reporter Maty Sarr Niang since May 16 on various charges, including “usurping the function of a journalist.”