Former Comorian President Ahmed Abdallah Sambi, tried for ” high treason “ by the State Security Court, was sentenced to life imprisonment, she announced Monday, November 28, during a hearing.
The decisions of this special court cannot be appealed. Mr. Sambi, 64, briefly appeared on the first day of his trial last week, to denounce a procedure in his eyes unfair, before refusing to appear during all the rest of the proceedings. “He betrayed the mission entrusted to him by the Comorians”had hammered on Thursday the prosecutor Ali Mohamed Djounaid in a solemn tone during the requisitions.
Main opponent of the current president Azali Assoumani, Mr. Sambi, 64, is accused of being involved in the scandal of the “economic citizenship”. The former president (2006-2011) had passed a law in 2008 allowing passports to be sold at a high price to those seeking a nationality.
A means of replenishing the coffers of the State by offering an administrative land of welcome, in particular to the tens of thousands of “Bidoons”Bedouins from the Gulf countries considered second-class citizens in their homeland and deprived of identity documents.
Mr. Sambi was accused of having embezzled a fortune within the framework of this program. The damage for the government amounts to more than 1.8 billion euros, according to the prosecutor, more than the GDP of the small poor archipelago in the Indian Ocean.
“They gave thugs the right to sell Comorian nationality like we would sell peanuts”had castigated a lawyer for the civil party, Mr.e Eric-Emmanuel Sossa.
But according to the French defense lawyer at AFP, Me Jean-Gilles Halimi, “no trace of this money has been demonstrated, no account discovered”.
Mr. Sambi, in preventive detention for more than four years, much longer than the legal duration set at eight months, was originally prosecuted for ” corruption “. In September, the facts had been reclassified as ” high treason “a crime which according to Me Halimi “does not exist in Comorian law”.
The court should “to make a legal construction of this notion”, had specified the order for reference. The defense denounced the illegality of this jurisdiction whose president had already sat in the indictment chamber.
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