July 25, 2021

ex-Prime Minister Guillaume Soro sentenced to life imprisonment for “endangering state security”

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Guillaume Soro in September 2020 in Paris.

The former Ivorian prime minister and ex-rebel leader Guillaume Soro was sentenced in his absence, Wednesday, June 23, in Abidjan, to life imprisonment for “Attack on the security of the State” for acts committed at the end of 2019.

The Assize Court of Abidjan followed the requisitions of the prosecution, as for the main other defendants, Souleymane Kamagaté, ex-chief of protocol of Mr. Soro, Affoussy Bamba, former minister, and Touré Moussa, his former chief of communication, sentenced to twenty years in prison, noted an AFP journalist.

Two of Guillaume Soro’s brothers and his former right-hand man, Alain Lobognon, were sentenced to seventeen months in prison for “Public disorder”.

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The court also ordered the confiscation of the property of Guillaume Soro and his 19 co-convicts, as well as the dissolution of his movement, Générations et peoples solidaires (GPS), accused of engaging in “Subversive acts”.

It ordered the condemned to pay jointly 1 billion CFA francs (150 million euros) to the Ivorian state.

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

The former prime minister and former president of the National Assembly was accused of having fomented with his supporters a “Civil and military insurrection” aiming to overthrow power during its abortive return to Côte d’Ivoire in December 2019, ten months before the presidential election in October 2020.

Already condemned

Guillaume Soro, 49, who lives in exile, and his co-defendants were accused of “Plot”, “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”.

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 2010-2011 against outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to admit defeat at the polls.

After the victory, Mr. Soro became the first head of government of Mr. Ouattara, then was appointed in 2012 presidents of the National Assembly, a position he held until 2019.

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But the two men gradually fell out, until the rupture consumed in early 2019, due, according to observers, to the presidential ambitions of Mr. Soro.

In April 2020, Mr. Soro had already been sentenced to twenty years in prison for “Concealment of embezzlement of public funds” after having tried, according to justice, to appropriate a residence bought by the State to house him when he was Prime Minister.

This conviction had justified the invalidation a few months later of his presidential candidacy.

The World with AFP