Dakar – A Senegalese appeal court on Wednesday postponed a ruling in a politically-charged case involving the mayor of Dakar, convicted of killing a man during a wave of political violence.
The court said it would extend its deliberations to September 21, but gave no reason for the decision.
Dakar Mayor Barthelemy Dias, a fierce opponent of President Macky Sall, is seeking to overturn a sentence for the 2011 killing of a wrestler named Ndiaga Diouf during a rally that turned violent.
Large numbers of police deployed in and around the courthouse and anti-riot vehicles were placed at key intersections in the capital, reflecting the sensitivity of the case.
Dias, 46, was elected city mayor in February, riding a wave of support for leading opposition figure Ousmane Sonko, and there is speculation that he himself has presidential ambitions.
Diouf was shot dead during an assault by alleged sympathisers of then-president Abdoulaye Wade on a district town hall in Dakar where Dias was local mayor at the time.
The violence occurred amid growing protests against Wade’s bid for a third term in office.
Dias was sentenced in 2017 to a six-month prison term and 18 months’ suspended in a trial in which he appeared alongside a dozen other defendants.
His appeal began in March.
Two other prominent opponents of President Sall – the former mayor of Dakar, Khalifa Sall (no relation) and former minister Karim Wade, who is the son of the ex-president – have seen their political careers hampered by legal troubles.
Sonko, meanwhile, has been under investigation for alleged rape since 2021.
All say they are victims of a conspiracy, a claim denied by the government.