The Dakar prosecutor’s office (Senegal) on Wednesday requested five years in prison against a young Frenchman accused of wanting to join jihadists in combat. It was a rare trial in a country considered to be an island of stability relatively untouched by jihadist actions, but concerned about the ongoing spread among its Sahelian neighbors.
This trial before a special chamber is the first in a series of hearings set to take place in the coming weeks. Malians will be tried in particular, suspected of having been in contact with the perpetrators or the organizers of the Grand-Bassam attack (Côte d’Ivoire), which killed 19 people, including European nationals, in 2016.
Arrested in August 2016 after getting off a plane
Mamadou Diaou is accused of criminal association in connection with a terrorist enterprise and of advocating terrorism. This 22-year-old born in Saint-Brieuc (Côtes-d’Armor) and holder of dual Franco-Malian nationality, according to his lawyer, was arrested in August 2016 when he got off the plane. It had been flagged as potentially dangerous by a secure database.
A message informing his parents that he was leaving to join the jihadist ranks to fight had been found on his cell phone. The security services had also discovered violent content there. The young man is thus suspected of having been in contact with a certain Ibrahima Ndiaye who would have offered to send him to Libya, Syria or Iraq.
Verdict expected at the end of April
The suspect admitted to having participated on an encrypted messaging in the exchanges of a group with violent content, but invoked curiosity. He said he went to Senegal at the invitation of Ibrahima Ndiaye for tourism. During the trial, his lawyer pleaded for acquittal, declaring that “all he said was conjecture, intellectual constructions, which are not supported by any material element”.
But the prosecutor demanded five years in prison and a fine of one million CFA francs (about 1,500 euros) for the apology, citing questions of law not to retain the criminal association. The verdict was reserved as of April 29.