Comoros courtroom sentences the previous president to life imprisonment

A Comoros courtroom on Monday handed down a life sentence for prime treason to former President Ahmed Abdallahi Sambi, who was discovered responsible of promoting passports to stateless individuals residing within the Gulf.

Sambi, 64, was sentenced by the State Safety Courtroom, a particular judicial physique, and its rulings can’t be appealed.

Comoros prosecutors had requested a life sentence for former President Sambi, who was tried in absentia for prime treason.

Sambi, 64, the arch-rival of present President Ghazali El Othmani, confronted prices associated to the alleged sale of Comoros passports to stateless individuals residing within the Gulf states.

“He betrayed the mission entrusted to him by the Comoros,” Legal professional Common Ali Mohamed Junaid mentioned final week earlier than the elite State Safety Courtroom when he requested for a life sentence.

Sambi, who led the tiny Indian Ocean nation between 2006 and 2011, handed a regulation in 2008 permitting passports to be bought for exorbitant charges.

The scheme was focusing on the so-called Bidoon – an Arab minority that numbers within the tens of hundreds and can’t acquire citizenship.

The previous president was accused of embezzling tens of millions of {dollars} underneath the scheme.

Prosecutors mentioned the associated fee exceeded $1.8 billion – greater than the impoverished nation’s gross home product.

“They’ve given thugs the proper to promote Comoros citizenship as in the event that they have been promoting peanuts,” mentioned Eric Emmanuel Sousa, a lawyer for civil plaintiffs.

Sambi was initially tried for corruption, however the prices have been reclassified as excessive treason, against the law “not present in Comorian regulation”, in accordance with Sambi’s French lawyer Jean-Gilles Halimi.

Sambi refused to attend the trial, as his legal professionals mentioned there have been no ensures he can be tried pretty.

He didn’t seem till November 21, together with his legal professionals asking the decide to step down as a result of he had beforehand been a member of the committee that determined to cost Sambi.

Sambi had already spent 4 years behind bars earlier than dealing with trial, far exceeding the eight-month restrict. He was initially positioned underneath home arrest on prices of disturbing public order.

Three months later, he was positioned in pretrial detention on prices of embezzlement, corruption and forgery, within the so-called “financial citizenship” scandal, earlier than prices of excessive treason have been introduced.

“It’s clear that Sambi is an impediment to Ghazali al-Othmani’s political agenda and he’s doing his finest to take away it,” Sambi’s daughter Tislam Sambi informed AFP.

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

The Comoros presidency formally denied these accusations.

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

(France 24 with Agence France-Presse)

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