Senegal ex-president's son jailed for corruption released: government

Karim Wade (2nd L) and Sindiely Wade (R), children of Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade, prepare to vote during presidential elections in the capital Dakar February 26, 2012. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

DAKAR (Reuters) - Karim Wade, the son of Senegal’s former president, was released from prison after being granted a presidential pardon, a spokesman for President Macky Sall and Wade’s lawyer said on Friday.

Wade, who served three years in prison, had been convicted on corruption charges, sentenced to six years and ordered to pay a fine of $138 billion ($232.23 million) CFA francs.

The presidential decree included pardons for Wade and two others who had been sentenced for “illegal enrichment”. A press release from the presidency added that payment of the fine was not covered by the pardon.

Wade’s lawyer Amadou Sall said his client had left the West African country immediately after his release.

When President Sall was elected in 2012 he had pledged to fight corruption, but opposition members and critics said the decision to imprison Wade was a political move intended to eliminate dissent.

A United Nations panel also criticized the government last year, saying that Wade had been detained arbitrarily and calling for the payment of unspecified compensation to the former head of four ministries.

Wade’s Senegalese Democratic Party chose him as their presidential candidate for the 2019 polls while he was in prison but it was not immediately clear whether he was still eligible for the post.

Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Alison Williams and David Goodman