Senegal's opposition leader has been questioned in a Dakar court hearing over sexual assaults accusations, against a Salonist.
While taking plead in court, the prosecution desk said the opposition leader Ousmane Sonko had forced the victim to sleep with him on several occasions and had threatened reprisals if she refused.
He is accused of raping an employee of a beauty salon where he was getting a massage and his arrest in March 2021 led to deadly riots. Sonko insists the claims are entirely false and that Senegalese President Macky Sall is attempting to set a trap for him and his supporters.
Speaking at a press conference, Sonko, said: "He (the senior judge) asked me: 'Do I recognise that I had relations with the lady?' I told him: 'I don't allow you to ask me such questions.'
However, he has also suffered legal troubles. Most notably, he has been accused of rape by Adji Sarr, an employee of a beauty salon where Sonko went for a massage.
Both sides accused the other of refusing to answer questions at a hearing before an investigating judge at a Dakar courthouse on Tuesday, according to comments they made to the local media. A large security detail was deployed around the building during the hearing.
Prosecution desk continued to say the police detained the opposition leader – a devout Muslim popular with Senegalese youths – on charges of public disorder after scuffles with his supporters broke out as he travelled to court.
He had been due to appear before a judge in relation to Sarr's separate rape charge, which she had filed in February.
At least five people died in the clashes between opposition supporters and security forces that followed Sonko's arrest.
Sonko's lawyer Henri Gomis told reporters that it was “up to (the plaintiffs) to bring evidence of the accusations of rape”.
Sarr told reporters at the court she was disappointed Sonko had refused to speak.
“He did not answer the head of the judges, lawyers, and prosecutors. I answered their questions,” she said.
Sonko has described the rape accusation as part of a “plot” to torpedo his 2024 candidacy.
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