Senegalese Singer Arrested For Criticizing Senegal's President On WhatsApp

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On August 3rd 2017, famous Senegalese singer Amy Colle Dieng was arrested in Dakar because she expressed her negative opinion about Senegal's President Macky Sall, in an audio message posted in a private group on WhatsApp, days after parliamentary elections that were marred by voting problems (check Reuters's article about it). Her voice memo was deemed "offensive" and "disrespectful" towards the President of Senegal. 

Arresting citizens based on their mere opinion in a private discussion is embarrassing for a country that is deemed one of West Africa's most stable and peaceful democracies. We see this arrest as a huge threat to freedom of speech. We've already collected more than 1,200 signatures on the french version of the petition and many Senegalese people, including Senegalese rapper Didier Awadi, have called for her release. Alioune Tine, Director of Amnesty International in Central and West Africa, also condemned the move by Senegalese authorities and called for the release of Amy Colle Dieng. 

At the time we're writing, Amy Colle Dieng, who is pregnant, is still being held by the national police's criminal investigations unit. We call for her immediate and unconditional release. 

In the past few years, Senegal has witnessed a number of arbitrary arrests and detentions initiated by a biased and expeditious form of justice, at a rate that is alarming and threatening for free speech. We believe the ruling party of a democratic country should accept public criticism and should refrain from cultivating fear by intimidating its own citizens. 

Miss Dieng, a Senegalese singer who is well-known for her local Mbalax style, was exercising her civil and human rights in a democratic country that should guarantee her freedom of speech. 

In the recording, Dieng calls Sall a "saïe saïe" (which, in Wolof, the senegalese language, means “cunning” or “sneaky”) who "operates in the shadows" to achieve his aims. We've included a link to this voice memo and a transcript, for you to see that there's nothing that should justify her detention

Please sign the petition and help us free Amy Colle Dieng. 

#FreeAmy

source: BBC Africa

Dieng's voice memo: YouTube audio

Transcript of the voice memo:  

"It’s me, Amy Collé Dieng, the senegalese singer, I’m back and I’m not going to stop talking, because I’m a singer and my voice is the only thing I can use to contribute to my country and defend it.

This is not about politics. Everyone that knows me knows that I have no interest in politics and I never talk about it. 

But when you live in a country and you realize that nothing is working and that nobody dares to say anything, anyone that God gave a voice to has to take the step up and say something, especially if that person fears God. If you don’t fear God, then you may tell the truth.  This message goes out to all those who care about their country. 

As for me, Amy Collé Dieng, I swear that there’s nothing that scares me, provided that I’m not hurting anyone in the process of telling the truth. That’s why I’ve decided to speak up because I feel that my country is going downhill. If I didn’t speak up, I’d call myself a traitor. And I’m definitely not one. 

Macky Sall has done nothing for this country, it’s like he’s just getting started. Yesterday I heard someone on the radio calling from the US and saying that “Macky Sall, everything he got he deserves it, it’s a well-mannered person, nobody has ever heard him criticize anyone, he never strikes back”. Macky Sall can’t strike back, in fact he doesn’t need to because everything he does is done being closed doors. 

To me he’s like a “saïe saïe” (in Wolof, the senegalese language, this means “cunning” or “sneaky”). He’s more dangerous than a salamander in a house. He stays quiet and acts secretly. People say he’s well-mannered but he does everything secretly, behind closed doors. We, the Senegalese people, we are so hypocrite because we are scared of him and we are afraid to tell the truth. 

Let’s talk about what Macky Sall does for this country. He is a manipulator. During the last elections, he did everything he could to steal them and claim victory. And we, the Senegalese people, if we are honest with ourselves, we can’t accept it.

This country doesn’t belong to Macky Sall. We gave him the keys trusting he would manage it well. Unfortunately, a lot of Senegalese people are unhappy with his job so far. The only people that are satisfied about his tenure are the ones that he gave money to, or those that are scared of him. 

As a human being, you have to stand up for the truth. Nobody has any idea where Macky Sall wants to lead this country to. What bothers me is that people say he’s well well-mannered, that he never strikes back, when in reality he is a hypocrite and everything behind closed doors. He doesn’t strike back because he’s acting behind our backs. But God knows the truth and Macky Sall is not going anywhere with this government. 

Macky Sall has never achieved anything positive because everybody that uses “Zourmaniyou” (djinn) and black magic, will be punished, soon or later. This country belongs to everybody and everyone needs to get involved. What are we afraid of? Macky Sall is not going to change the world by himself.  

Here in Senegal, we’ve prayed that anyone that doesn’t run this country properly deserves to leave. We ruled out ex-President Abdoulaye Wade (although he was good), and replaced him with Macky Sall (unfortunately). The latter may be well-mannered but he has ruined this country. Why is everyone scared of him? He’s just another human being. 

Dieng Sallo, my brother, I’ve heard what you said but anybody that is scared, shouldn’t be part of this discussion group. If your heart beat rate rises because you’re frightened, you shouldn’t be part of this group. People need to be brave. If you’re brave and love your country, you should stand up for it. Nelson Mandela for example loved his country so much that he got jailed for many years, but he never stopped fighting for his ideas. And God blessed him because he loved his country. 

Everyone that strives for this country deserves God’s blessing.  Why are Senegalese people so scared? We’re not stealing anyone, we’re not lying to anyone, we’re not creating chaos, we only wish our country was better run. What’s our problem, really? 

What Macky Sall has done, it’s the second time he’s done it. I am ready to protest about it anytime because what Macky Sall wants to do with his country is unacceptable. This country doesn’t belong to him. It belongs to us. And if it were just about us, this country would be emerging by itself, and would be back to where it was when Abdoulaye Wade left it. If we were running this country, the young folks would get jobs. 

Open your eyes, nobody has a job, the young generation is tired of Macky Sall who is terrorizing them and stealing the elections. Macky Sall needs to stop that and start doing some real work. He also needs to start acting in a legal fashion. If he’s meant to stay in power, he will. If he’s not, he will leave. Only God knows. 

I’m not afraid to speak up and say when I want to say. I have the right to do so. I’m speaking for my country. I want my country to move forward, I want young people to find jobs, and I want Senegalese people to feel less overwhelmed with the crisis. 

People’s suffering needs to stop. We are all tired, women are tired, children too. Macky Sall has ruined this country, so why should we stay quiet about it? As sneaky as he is, he’s not well-mannered, he’s plotting behind our backs, and if we’re not paying attention, he’s going to make things worse and we’re going to suffer even more. We can not accept it because God has never forced us to suffer. We owe our suffering to ourselves, and this is something we shouldn’t accept. "

 



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