Senegalese MPs jailed for attacking pregnant legislator in parliament

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Two Senegalese opposition MPs were handed six-month jail terms on Monday for physically attacking a female colleague in parliament.

In a case that sparked anguished debate about democracy in Senegal, pro-government legislator Amy Ndiaye was slapped and then kicked in the belly during a chaotic session in the National Assembly.

MPs Mamadou Niang and Massata Samb were each given six-month prison terms after a trial that began on December 19.

They were also each fined 100,000 CFA francs CFA ($150) and ordered to pay five million francs in damages.

Prosecutors had sought two-year terms.

The bust up happened on December 1, during a routine vote on the justice ministry's budget.

>> Shock in Senegal as female MP assaulted by her male colleagues in parliament

It was sparked by remarks Ndiaye had made about Serigne Moustapha Sy, an influential Muslim leader who supports the opposition but is not a lawmaker.

After order was restored, Ndiaye fainted and was given hospital treatment -- her lawyer Baboucar Cisse said she was pregnant and there were fears she could lose her baby.

She has since left hospital but "remains in an extremely difficult situation," Cisse said.

The incident triggered a fierce debate about parliamentary discourse and attacks on women. It notably coincided with an awareness campaign against domestic violence.

Senegal is widely viewed as a beacon of stability and democracy in West Africa -- a region notorious for coups and dictatorships.

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