Two Senegalese detained for 3 years without trial for Facebook posts

In Senegal, two young people are being prosecuted for “apologizing for terrorism” following comments they have posted on the social network. One of them, Saer Kebe, was in the final class, the other, Ousseynou Kebe, had just finished his first year of university.

The families of the two defendants denounce the slowness of the proceedings. October 4 will be the fourth school year without Saer Kebe, held since May 2015 while preparing for the examination of the baccalaureate.

According to his relatives, he was arrested in Mbour, a town about 80 km from Dakar but according to his parents, the 18-year-old boy at the time had just posted a comment on the Facebook page of the US Embassy in Dakar, denouncing United States support for Israel in bombing the Palestinian territories.

Mouhamadou Lamine Diagne, the president of the Solidarity Collective in Saer Kebe, explains the circumstances of his arrest.

“We waited until the end of class, at noon, to call him on the phone and tell him that his examination file is incomplete, and those who called him asked him to join them without giving their names, they handcuffed him and took him home, where they conducted a search after which they found only the computer they took away.”

Saer Kebe has been indicted for “apologizing for terrorism”. His father pleads a mistake of youth and asks for clemency of justice.

Ousseynou Diop was arrested in November 2015 in Thies, a town some 70 km from Dakar, following a comment he posted in a Facebook discussion about the attack on the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris.

Selle Diop, his older brother, claims that since his arrest, the family has been largely unaware of the evolution of his court record. “He has not been tried since his indictment, we do not have enough information on his case,” says Selle Diop.

The judicial files of Saer Kebe and Ousseynou Diop could revive the debate on long preventive detentions in Senegal.

The relatives of Saer Kebe claim to have unsuccessfully seized several authorities, including the mediator of the Republic, officials of the Ministries of Justice and National Education, for intervention in favour of the boy. He could not even get permission to take the baccalaureate exam.

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