In Senegal, release of an incarcerated French woman after a demonstration in support of Ousmane Sonko

A French woman imprisoned in Senegal since her participation in a demonstration in support of opponent Ousmane Sonko in mid-November, was released and deported to France, one of her lawyers, Cheikh Koureyssi Ba, told AFP

In Senegal, release of an incarcerated French woman after a demonstration in support of Ousmane Sonko

A French woman imprisoned in Senegal since her participation in a demonstration in support of opponent Ousmane Sonko in mid-November, was released and deported to France, one of her lawyers, Cheikh Koureyssi Ba, told AFP. “Coline Fay is expelled, it was the judge himself who informed me of this,” declared Me Koureyssi Ba on the night of Thursday January 18 to Friday January 19. The information was confirmed by another of her advisers in France, Juan Branco, who specified in a message to AFP that she should arrive Friday morning in Paris.

The 26-year-old young woman was accused, among other things, of “conspiracy against state authority” and “acts or maneuvers likely to compromise public security,” and was charged again last week for “attempting to leave irregular correspondence”. “These were circumstantial prosecutions, bordering on the ridiculous,” according to Me Koureyssi Ba. “It’s a sigh of relief,” he reacted to the announcement of her release, specifying that she is “under the responsibility of the police” until her arrival in France, but without the presence of his lawyers. “She’s in good spirits. She’s a resilient girl,” he added.

Ms. Fay, who became involved with the environmental movement Extinction Rebellion during her studies in Spain, came to work in Senegal as a physiotherapist in a center for pregnant women. Since her incarceration, several gatherings of dozens of people, at the initiative of her relatives, have been held in Grenoble, where she is from. Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna was questioned on this subject in mid-December in a letter sent by lawyer Juan Branco and two left-wing deputies, the ecologist Aurélien Taché and the rebellious Sophia Chikirou. The French government had urged the Senegalese authorities to expedite the young woman's case, according to Mr. Koureyssi Ba.

Ms. Fay's lawyers are also among those of Senegalese opponent Ousmane Sonko, currently imprisoned. Found guilty in June of "debauchery of a minor" and sentenced to two years in prison, he was imprisoned at the end of July on other charges, including "calling for insurrection", "criminal association in connection with a terrorist enterprise” and “attack on state security.” Mr. Sonko denounces in these cases a plot to prevent him from participating in the presidential election in February, which the government denies.