Ivorian justice frees allies of Guillaume Soro ~ #AFP:

Two Ivorian deputies and two militants favorable to the former rebel leader and ex-Prime Minister Guillaume Soro were released on the night of Friday to Saturday, one month before the presidential election, AFP learned from one of the officials. them, the deputy Tehfour Koné.

“I was released during the night around 1am (local and GMT). I was able to return to Abidjan,” said Mr. Koné, a pro-Soro deputy from Abobo (popular district of Abidjan), who was incarcerated in Tiassalé prison, 120 km north of the economic capital.

The deputy “Konda Soumahoro as well as two other activists were also released but (the deputy Alain) Lobognon, Soul to Soul (Souleymane Kamagaté Koné, former chief of protocol of Soro) and the two brothers (Simon and Rigobert) of Guillaume Soro are still in prison, ”he said.

These are parole releases.

Guillaume Soro ran for the presidential election on October 31, but the Constitutional Council invalidated his candidacy. A former ally of President Alassane Ouattara, he was indeed sentenced to 20 years in prison for “concealment of embezzlement of public funds”. He is also accused of “attempted insurrection”.

About twenty relatives of Mr. Soro, including five deputies, were arrested in Côte d’Ivoire at the end of December 2019 after his attempt to return to Abidjan. Most are accused of “attempted insurrection”.

Amnesty International then considered the prosecution of Mr. Soro and his supporters “very suspicious”, “the charges appearing to be politically motivated”.

The Constitutional Council rejected on September 14 the candidacy of Mr. Soro for the presidential election (as well as 39 others of the 44 candidacies including that of former President Laurent Gbagbo) but validated that of outgoing President Alassane Ouattara for a controversial third term.

“Calming measures”

The opposition called for civil disobedience, accusing the Constitutional Council and the Independent Electoral Commission of being “subservient” to power.

A senior official in the ruling party recently told AFP that there would be “appeasement measures”. Pro-Soro releases appear to be part of it but no official announcement has been made.

The fear of deadly electoral violence is strong in Côte d’Ivoire, ten years after the post-electoral crisis born of the 2010 presidential election which left 3,000 dead after Laurent Gbagbo refused to recognize his electoral defeat against Alassane Ouattara.

Violence, in the wake of the announcement of President Ouattara’s candidacy, killed around 15 people in August.

Elected in 2010, re-elected in 2015, Mr. Ouattara, 78, announced in March that he was giving up running for a third term, before changing his mind in August, after the death of his designated dolphin, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly.

The Constitution limits the number of presidential terms to two, but the Constitutional Council estimated that the entry into force of a new Constitution in 2016 had reset the counters to zero, which the opposition fiercely contests.

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Source: VOA-AFP.

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