Ivorian opponent Guillaume Soro tried in absentia for “conspiracy” ~ #REUTERS:

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The former rebel leader and former Ivorian Prime Minister Guillaume Soro is tried in absentia from Wednesday in Abidjan with about twenty of his supporters for an alleged attempt at a “plot” to overthrow power at the end of 2019.

According to the Ivorian prosecution, the former president of the National Assembly (2012-19), who has been living in exile abroad for two years, would have fomented a “civil and military insurrection” during his return – ultimately aborted – in Côte d’Ivoire in December 2019, ten months before the presidential election.

Guillaume Soro, 49, is accused of “conspiracy”, “attempted attack against the authority of the State” as well as “dissemination and publication of false news discrediting the institutions and their functioning, resulting in an attack on the morale of the populations”, according to the order for referral to the Abidjan Criminal Court (equivalent to the Assize Court).

Nineteen of his supporters are being prosecuted for the same charges, including two of his brothers, the former minister and deputy Alain Lobognon, considered his right-hand man, and several other former parliamentarians, all of whom have been imprisoned for a year and a half. Her lawyer and former minister Affoussy Bamba, in exile, is also being prosecuted.

They face life imprisonment. All of the respondents refuted all the charges.

The collective of lawyers defending Mr. Soro denounced in a statement Tuesday a “sham trial” and “a political settling of scores aimed at removing Mr. Guillaume Soro and the executives of his movement from the country’s public affairs”.

While Côte d’Ivoire, which experienced a tense presidential election last year, has been going through a period of political detente for several months, with discussions between the government and the opposition parties and the releases of opponents, Guillaume Soro and his remaining supporters are still in the crosshairs.

“For him it will be life imprisonment”, Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara said in October 2020 about his former ally.

Leader of the rebellion which controlled the northern half of Côte d’Ivoire in the 2000s, Guillaume Soro militarily helped Alassane Ouattara to gain power during the post-electoral crisis of 2010-11 against President Laurent Gbagbo. But the two men had gradually moved away, then scrambled until the rupture consummated in early 2019, due, according to political analysts, to the presidential ambitions of Mr. Soro.

In April 2020, Mr. Soro was sentenced to 20 years in prison for concealment of embezzlement of public funds, for having tried to appropriate, according to justice, a residence purchased by the State to house him when he was Prime Minister. minister. This conviction had justified the invalidation of his presidential candidacy, while he was seen as a serious challenger.

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Source: Reuters-VOA.

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