Ivory Coast court jails ex-first lady 20 years over poll violence

Simone Gbagbo
Simone Gbagbo

An Ivorian court on Tuesday in Abidjan sentenced former first lady, Simone Gbagbo, to 20 years in prison, for her role in a 2011 post-election violence.

Rodrigue Dadje, her lawyer, said the trial verdicts were announced after nine hours of deliberations by the jury.

He said Gbagbo was tried alongside 82 other allies of ex-President Laurent Gbagbo.

“This is purely a political decision to keep her out of the political game,” he said.

He said they were being tried in a case, in which more than 3,000 people, were killed.

Mr. Dadje said Bruno Ble, who headed the elite Republican Guard, and former Navy Chief, Vagba Faussignaux, were both jailed for 20 years, while the former president’s son got a shorter sentence.

“The jury members retained all the charges against her, including disturbing the peace, forming and organising armed gangs and undermining state security,” Mr. Dadje said. “It’s a shame.”

Dadje said the sentence handed down by the six-member jury, was longer than the 10 years requested by the state prosecutor.

He said the former first lady’s rights, were also suspended for 10 years.

The lawyer said Pascal Affi-N’Guessan, President of Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) party, was also handed an 18-month suspended sentence.

The ex-first lady said she had been insulted and humiliated by the prosecution, which, she said, had failed to prove her guilt. She said she told her part of the truth.

“I’m prepared to forgive,” she said ” I forgive because, if we don’t forgive, this country will burn.”


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