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 courtroom 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 line with Tanzania Every 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 dwelling within the Gulf.

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

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

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

In line with Djounaid, the previous president embezzled $1.8bn below 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 recommend 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 together with his defence asking the decide 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 below home arrest for allegedly disturbing public order.

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

“It’s clear that Sambi is a hindrance to Azali Assoumani’s political agenda and that he’s doing all the pieces to take away it,” Sambi’s daughter Tisslame Sambi had advised AFP.

Among the many defendants was French-Syrian businessman Bashar Kiwan, who accused the federal government of looking for to stress him into testifying towards the previous president in change 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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