Amy Collé Dieng is a popular Senegalese “mbalax” singer who was arrested on August 3, 2017 for insulting Senegal’s President Macky Sall. She was charged six days later with “offending the head of state and broadcasting fake news”, a crime for which she could face up to three years in prison.
The 38 year-old singer’s arrest follows a controversial election at the end of July, which was apparently marred by widespread administrative errors. Shortly after, Dieng sent an audio recording in a WhatsApp group sympathetic to losing opposition candidate and former president Abdoulaye Wade, in which she criticized the organization of the election and called current President Sall a “scoundrel” who “operates in the shadows”. Her angry message also suggests that she believes the president has done “nothing” for the country.
When the audio clip began circulating widely on social media, authorities got involved. She was detained for ten days, but released pending trial on August 15, 2017. Local media reported that Dieng freely admitted to recording the message, and that she stands by her opinion.
Dieng’s notoriety has made her case a high profile one in Senegal. The country’s top prosecutor has declared that Senegal would use Dieng’s case to put an end to “abusive” online behavior, something the West African nation has been trying to do since June, when four other individuals were convicted on the same charges for circulating a fake nude photograph of President Sall.
Dieng’s lawyers, on the other hand, have described her detention as “arbitrary”, suggesting that offending the head of state is a crime that should not exist in a democratic society. The Voice Project agrees, and we ask you to add you voice today in opposition against these dangerous and unfounded charges.