[JURIST] Senegal’s highest court on Thursday upheld a graft conviction and six-year prison term [JURIST report] against Karim Wade, the son of former president Abdoulaye Wade [BBC backgrounder]. Karim Wade, who had several portfolios within his father’s government and presidential ambitions of his own, was convicted in March for amassing a personal fortune with public funds. The supreme court rejected an appeal [AP report] by Karim Wade to overturn the conviction, in which he was also fined more than 210 million euros. The younger Wade’s lawyers claim that the court decision contains more than 100 irregularities and violations. Karim Wade was charged in 2013 [JURIST report], one year after his father lost his bid for reelection to Macky Sall [BBC backgrounder]. The former ruling Senegalese Democratic Party and Abdoulaye Wade have accused Sall’s government of conducting a witch hunt.
Abdoulaye Wade served as president of Senegal from 2000-2012. Since Abdoulaye Wade exited office in 2012, a number of government officials in Senegal have been investigated for charges of illegal enrichment. Karim Wade’s imprisonment has received international attention. He refused to attend court sessions [AFP report] after one of his lawyers was expelled from a hearing, and his entire legal staff began boycotting proceedings. Last year Karim Wade referred to himself as a political prisoner [BBC report] during his first appearance in court for the corruption charges.