Ivory Coast: Ex-PM Guillaume Soro Sentenced To Life Imprisonment

Former rebel chief, who is in exile in Europe, gets life in absentia on charges of plotting a coup against erstwhile ally, President Alassane Ouattara.

Ivory Coast: Ex-PM Guillaume Soro Sentenced To Life Imprisonment
There was no immediate reaction by Guillaume Soro, who is out of the country.



A court in Ivory Coast has sentenced the former rebel leader and also the Prime Minister Guillaume Soro to life imprisonment in absentia on charges of plotting a coup against President Alassane Ouattara in late 2019. The verdict on Wednesday came after 49-year-old Soro, who has been in exile in Europe for about two years,


was charged with conspiracy and an attempted attack on state authority. His lawyers too have also previously condemned the charges as politically motivated and said there was no evidence to show he was guilty. Two other defendants, Soro’s close associates Souleymane Kamagate and Affoussy Bamba, also received 20 year



sentences. Two of Soro’s brothers and his former aide Alain Lobognon got 17 month jail terms for disturbing public order. The court also ordered the confiscation of the assets of Soro and those of his 19 co-defendants and the dissolution of his Generations and the Solidary Movement for “subversive acts”. It also ordered them to



pay one billion CFA francs ($179m) to the Ivorian state. There was no immediate reaction by Soro. The case has raised tensions in a country still recovering from a brief civil war a decade ago, during which Soro led the rebels that swept Ouattara to power after a disputed election that saw then-President Laurent Gbagbo refusing to



accept defeat. Soro, who is also thought to be popular among the country’s growing young population, served as prime minister and speaker of parliament under Ouattara. But the two men later fell out as the president made clear he would oppose his subordinate’s own presidential ambitions. Guillaume was charged with



fomenting a “civilian and military insurrection” as he was planning a return to the country in December 2019 to run for president a bid that was also quashed by the Constitutional Court. Soro was also one of some 40 candidates barred from running in the October 2020 election that saw Ouattara win a controversial third



term with 94 percent of the vote. The opposition also boycotted the vote, saying Ouattara’s bid for a third term broke a legal two-term limit and then undermined the country’s democratic process. The president’s camp said constitutional amendments introduced in 2016 reset the two-term limits to zero, allowing Ouattara to



run again. Dozens of people were also killed in unrest surrounding the bitterly contested polls too. Since then, Ivory Coast, the world’s largest cocoa producer, has also seen relative calm, and with dialogue between the government and the opposition parties and the various opposition figures released from prison.