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.

US Supreme Court begins session amid crisis of public trust | Courts News

Current survey finds simply 47 % of Individuals belief US high court docket, which is taking on new set of contentious instances.

The US Supreme Courtroom has begun a brand new session with public confidence in its work at an all-time low, in keeping with a current ballot, as the highest court docket’s choice to overturn the constitutional proper to abortion continues to divide america.

The Supreme Courtroom started a brand new time period on Monday, listening to arguments in an environmental dispute, welcoming a history-making justice to the bench and taking on some new instances to be determined within the subsequent 9 months.

However late final week, a Gallup survey discovered that simply 47 % of Individuals trusted the establishment — down from the earlier low of 53 %, and 20 share factors decrease than two years in the past.

A record-high 58 % of respondents additionally mentioned they disapproved of the Supreme Courtroom’s work, in keeping with the ballot.

The findings come because the Supreme Courtroom is extra various than ever, Al Jazeera’s Kimberly Halkett reported on Monday from Washington, DC, the place new Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson grew to become the primary Black girl to serve on the bench.

“[Brown Jackson] is barely the third … African American [who] has sat on this court docket, which is important in and of itself. The make-up of the court docket now appears to be like extra like america,” mentioned Halkett, including that the Supreme Courtroom nonetheless has a conservative majority, nevertheless.

Whereas conservative and liberal justices have continued to insist that the physique just isn’t political, the court docket’s perceived impartiality has suffered because it overturned its landmark Roe v Wade abortion rights choice in June.

That ruling set off condemnation and mass protests by reproductive rights advocates throughout the US, in addition to a wave of restrictive abortion legal guidelines in Republican-led states.

It additionally fuelled calls amongst Democrats and different authorized observers to increase the variety of seats on the highest court docket as a solution to steadiness towards its conservative stance.

In line with the current Gallup ballot, 71 % of Democrats mentioned the Supreme Courtroom was “too conservative”, as did 46 % of independents. A majority of Republicans, in the meantime, mentioned the court docket’s ideology was “about proper”.

That polarisation reveals few indicators of abating, with the court docket’s 6-3 conservative majority anticipated to listen to instances on a number of contentious matters throughout the upcoming session, resembling homosexual rights, racial justice, elections, and environmental safety.

On Monday, the court docket heard arguments in a case that would restrict the scope of a landmark federal environmental regulation — the Clear Water Act of 1972 — as they contemplate for a second time a married Idaho couple’s bid to construct on property that the US authorities has deemed a protected wetland.

One other case scheduled for this time period includes a web site designer who has argued that their spiritual beliefs are being violated by equal safety legal guidelines that deny firms the suitable to discriminate towards same-sex {couples}.

One other case might have substantial implications for the US electoral system, handing extra energy over the method to state legislatures.

This comes amid rising issues over the way forward for US elections as a rising variety of Republican candidates have embraced false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.

Ex-Guinea military ruler goes on trial for 2009 stadium massacre | Courts News

Former Guinean president and army ruler Moussa Dadis Camara and 10 different males are set to face trial for a 2009 stadium bloodbath and mass rape by the nation’s safety forces.

The 11 males have been indicted for his or her accountability within the killing of greater than 150 individuals and the rape of greater than 100 girls within the capital Conakry, in line with a report by a United Nations-mandated worldwide fee.

On September 28, 2009, tens of 1000’s of pro-democracy demonstrators held a protest within the stadium to stress Camara to not stand for election as president of Guinea the next 12 months. Camara got here to energy via a army coup in 2008.

“The tens of 1000’s of opposition supporters and civil society had no concept of the fear ready for them that day in 2009,” Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris mentioned whereas reporting from Conakry.

“Survivors communicate of horrific bloodbath with some victims shot at shut vary. Ladies and women trapped by the shootings had been overwhelmed and raped by safety forces.”

Like tons of of households who blamed Camara for the killings, Cherno Maju Bah, remains to be bitter over the killing of his nephew.

“You’ll be able to forgive any person if (they) didn’t do it intentionally,” Bah advised Al Jazeera. “But when he did do it intentionally, you possibly can’t forgive him. He did it. He meant it and he did it.”

Quite a few testimonies report how the presidential guard’s Purple Berets, law enforcement officials and militiamen entered the stadium round midday, cordoned off the exits and opened hearth indiscriminately on a crowd that had beforehand been festive.

Unarmed civilians had been attacked with knives, machetes and bayonets, leaving the stands, corridors and grass strewn with the lifeless and dying. Others had been trampled to demise within the panic.

Asmaou Diallo, who was on the protest, advised the Reuters information company she was assaulted and barely escaped along with her life, and that her son was killed in entrance of her.

“Probably the most stunning picture for me that day was that of the physique of my slain son. I nonetheless haven’t processed what occurred,” mentioned Diallo, who now heads an affiliation of oldsters and victims of the killings.

“Realizing that this trial will happen is for all of the victims the start of hope for deliverance,” she mentioned.

Worldwide investigators discovered the abuses might qualify as crimes in opposition to humanity, noting the brutality went on for a number of days in opposition to sequestered girls and male detainees who had been tortured.

Camara has denied accountability for the incident, blaming it on errant troopers, together with his former aide-de-camp Lieutenant Aboubacar Toumba Diakite, who can be amongst these indicted. He has additionally denied accountability.

‘Private prison accountability’

On the eve of Wednesday’s trial, Amnesty Worldwide launched a report calling for higher safety for rape victims in Guinea and the “pressing” adoption of a complete regulation on gender-based violence.

After extended investigations and repeated delays by the earlier authorities, the army authorities that seized energy in September final 12 months gave an order that the trial ought to begin no later than September 28, the anniversary of the mass killing.

Camara, who was in exile in Burkina Faso following an tried assassination and his elimination in 2009, returned to Guinea over the weekend. Kinfolk say he intends to “clear his title” however the worldwide fee has accused him of “private prison accountability and command accountability”.

He was interviewed by a prosecutor and detained on Tuesday alongside two different former senior army officers, their lawyer Pepe Antoine Lamah advised journalists.

“It’s in violation of the regulation that the prosecutor determined to incarcerate my purchasers,” Lamah mentioned.

At the least 600 victims of the stadium incident have been recognized, in line with Alseny Sall, a spokesman for the Guinean Group for Human Rights.

Sall mentioned some 154 had been killed that day by troopers from the presidential guard, the army police, the police, and army trainees as about 50,000 individuals gathered on the stadium to protest.

Ready for trial

Some relations of these killed have mentioned they by no means obtained their family members’ stays.

“The toughest factor for me was not having the ability to mourn my husband. His physique disappeared and was by no means returned to us. It’s a scenario that weighs on me,” mentioned Salimatou Bah, a rice vendor.

“All we wish is justice. This trial should make sure that such issues by no means occur once more on this nation,” she mentioned.

Regardless of repeated commitments underneath former President Alpha Conde’s regime, victims and relations say they’ve been ready for the trial for 13 years.

Whereas many welcomed the transfer by Guinea’s army authorities to deliver the case to trial, there are additionally suspicions that the choice may very well be politically motivated by the present army chief, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya.

Doumbouya, who got here to energy in a coup final 12 months after 11 years of civilian rule, is underneath stress to step down and set a date for brand new elections.

Human rights defenders and the Worldwide Felony Courtroom have additionally been pushing for justice.

“The target is to make sure that the perpetrators are punished and victims are accorded their rights,” Alpha Amadou Bah, a lawyer who has taken the case to the ICC on behalf of a sufferer, advised Al Jazeera.

“As a result of many individuals are nonetheless lacking. This trial may lead us to the place the lacking are buried. With out justice, there will probably be no closure for households.”

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