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“The detention of Karim Wade in Senegal is arbitrary” – UN expert panel maintains

Senegal / Arbitrary detention

29 January 2016

GENEVA (29 January 2016) – The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention today upheld its 2015 decision on the case of Karim Wade, a former Minister of State for International Cooperation of Senegal, currently serving a six-year prison sentence for corruption.

“The Working Group stands by its Opinion that the detention of Mr. Karim Wade is arbitrary,” said human rights expert Seong-Phil Hong, who currently heads the expert panel. “We are not aware of any new information that would compel us to modify our decision.”

In an statement* made public today, the Working Group recalled their Opinion of 20 April 2015, in which they considered arbitrary the deprivation of liberty of Mr. Wade and requested the Government of Senegal to take the necessary steps to remedy the situation and bring it line with international human rights standards.

“We are aware of allegations made in some media of a supposed conflict of interest of one member of the Working Group that would disqualify him from taking part in the deliberations in this case,” Mr. Hong noted. “We have looked into the allegation, and found that it was groundless.”

“The Working Group considers that its members have strictly adhered to the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council, which obliges them to exercise their functions through a professional, impartial assessment of facts based on internationally recognized human rights standards,” the expert stressed.

(*) See the Working Group’s statement on Mr. Karim Wade’s case:  


Mr. Seong-Phil Hong (Republic of Korea) is the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. Other members of the Working Group are Ms. Leigh Toomey (Australia); Mr. José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez (Mexico); Mr. Roland Adjovi Sètondji (Benin) and Mr. Vladimir Tochilovsky (Ukraine). Learn more, log on to:

Check the Working Group’s Opinion on Mr. Karim Wade’s case:

The UN Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Senegal:

For more information and media requests on the Working group’s Opinion on the detention of Mr. Karim Wade, please contact: Mr. Christophe Peschoux (+41 22 917 93 81 / [email protected]), or write to [email protected]

For media inquiries related to other UN mandates:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / [email protected])  

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