Ex-Comoros president given life sentence over passport scandal | Courts News

The previous president, who had already spent 4 years in jail earlier than he confronted a trial, is a rival to the nation’s present chief.

A court docket in Comoros has sentenced Ahmed Abdallah Sambi, ex-president of the East African nation, to life in jail for “excessive treason”, regional media studies and the AFP information company have reported.

In accordance with Tanzania Day by day Information, Sambi, who’s a political rival of incumbent President Azali Assoumani, was sentenced by the State Safety Court docket, a particular judicial physique whose rulings can’t be appealed, after he was convicted of promoting passports to stateless folks residing within the Gulf.

“He betrayed the mission entrusted to him by the Comorians,” public prosecutor Ali Mohamed Djounaid accused within the court docket as he requested for a life sentence.

Sambi, 64, who led the tiny Indian Ocean archipelago nation between 2006 and 2011, enacted a legislation in 2008 permitting the sale of passports for prime charges.

The controversial scheme was aimed to present nationality to the so-called Bidoon – an Arab minority numbering within the tens of hundreds who can’t acquire citizenship.

In accordance with Djounaid, the previous president embezzled $1.8bn beneath the fraudulent scheme – greater than the gross home product of the impoverished nation.

Native media quoted Emmanuel Sossa, a lawyer for civilian plaintiffs, as saying: “They gave thugs the proper to promote Comorian nationality as in the event that they have been promoting peanut.”

Sambi’s lawyer Jean- Gilles Halimi, nonetheless, refuted the accusations, saying no proof had been offered for the lacking monies and no financial institution accounts had been put ahead to counsel a criminal offense.

Sambi refused to attend the trial on the grounds that there have been no ensures he can be judged pretty. He briefly appeared as soon as along with his defence asking the choose to recuse himself since he had beforehand sat on the panel that determined to indict him.

The previous chief, who was initially charged with corruption, had already spent 4 years in jail earlier than he confronted a trial. He was beforehand positioned beneath home arrest for allegedly disturbing public order.

Three months later he was put beneath pre-trial detention for embezzlement, corruption and forgery, within the so-called “financial citizenship” scandal, earlier than being slapped with excessive treason fees.

“It’s clear that Sambi is a hindrance to Azali Assoumani’s political agenda and that he’s doing every little thing to take away it,” Sambi’s daughter Tisslame Sambi had instructed AFP.

Among the many defendants was French-Syrian businessman Bashar Kiwan, who accused the federal government of searching for to stress him into testifying in opposition to the previous president in trade for a pardon.

The Comoros presidency has formally denied these accusations.

The Comoros islands – Anjouan, Grande Comore and Moheli – have endured years of grinding poverty and political turmoil, together with about 20 coups or tried coups, since independence from France in 1975.

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