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Senegal Seeks 7-year Sentence for Ex-president's Son

  • Reuters

FILE - Supporters of main opposition Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) hold posters of former Senegalese president Abdulaye Wade (L) and his son Karim (R) during a protest in Dakar, April 23, 2013.

FILE - Supporters of main opposition Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) hold posters of former Senegalese president Abdulaye Wade (L) and his son Karim (R) during a protest in Dakar, April 23, 2013.

A Sengalese special prosecutor is seeking a seven-year prison sentence for Karim Wade, the son of a former president, on charges of illicit enrichment, Wade's lawyer said on Wednesday.

The prosecutor also wants to suspend Wade's political rights, a threat to his career. Wade headed several ministries during the presidency of his father, Abdoulaye Wade, and is seen by many in the historically stable West African country as a future leader.

Wade, 46, denies any wrongdoing. His arrest has stoked divisions and large crowds have gathered outside the courtroom on several occasions since the trial began seven months ago, prompting police to fire teargas.

A spray-painted message reads, "Free Karim" and is a common sight in the area as the trial of the former interior minister, Karim Wade, continues, Dakar, Senegal, Nov. 11, 2014. (Christin Roby/VOA)

A spray-painted message reads, "Free Karim" and is a common sight in the area as the trial of the former interior minister, Karim Wade, continues, Dakar, Senegal, Nov. 11, 2014. (Christin Roby/VOA)

Graffiti scrawled across buildings in the capital, Dakar, reads "Free Karim!" In his closing remarks, prosecutor Cheikh Tidiane Mara late on Tuesday also sought a 250 CFA billion-franc fine and the confiscation of Wade's assets.

"The prosecutor is equally asking that Karim is denied his political and civil rights and that is their real goal," lawyer Amadou Sall told Reuters. Defense lawyers, who have frequently boycotted proceedings, are due to make a concluding address. The court will then deliberate before passing a final judgment.

"This could be serious for his political career as the suspension could last for 10 years after the end of his jail sentence," said a legal source in Dakar following the trial.

Senegal is due to hold its next election in 2017.

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