Two members of parliament in Senegal have been handed six-month jail sentences for attacking a pregnant lawmaker, who suffered a kick to the stomach. Chaos erupted during a budget debate in the National Assembly on Dec. 1. Amy Ndiaye, a member of the ruling Benno Bokk Yakaar coalition, had "scoffed" as opposition lawmaker Massata Samb addressed the room, raising critical comments she made about a spiritual leader, at which point Samb walked up to Ndiaye and slapped her, Al Jazeera reports. Ndiaye then grabbed a chair and threw it toward Samb. At the same moment, Mamadou Niang, another opposition lawmaker, kicked her in the stomach, causing her to fall to the ground.
Ndiaye later fainted and "there were fears that she would lose the baby," the BBC reports. Though she is now out of a hospital, her lawyer notes she "remains in an extremely difficult situation." It's unclear how far along she is in the pregnancy. Samb and Niang were detained and charged with voluntarily causing hurt in what their lawyer claimed was a violation of their right to parliamentary immunity. The politicians additionally claimed in court that they had not attacked Ndiaye, despite live footage of the incident.
Though Ndiaye’s lawyers sought two-year sentences, the men were each handed a six-month jail sentence and jointly ordered to pay $8,100 in compensation to Ndiaye, per the Hindustan Times. They are to remain in prison during an appeal, per the BBC. The incident has "worsened political tensions in Senegal that flared when the governing party lost its comfortable majority in a July legislative election," per Al Jazeera. The loss has been linked to concerns about whether President Macky Sall will seek a third term in 2024, which the opposition says would violate term limits. Samb had been discussing Ndiaye's remarks about a spiritual leader opposed to a third term for Sall when he slapped her. (Read more Senegal stories.)