Eight Gbagbo allies released by Côte d'Ivoire court

Eight allies of Côte d'Ivoire's former president, arrested after deadly post-election violence in the country, have been provisionally released.

A court in Côte d’Ivoire on Wednesday granted provisional release to eight allies of former president Laurent Gbagbo arrested following a deadly post-election crisis, their lawyer said.

The eight, including four former Cabinet ministers, had been charged with threatening state security or “economic crimes”, defence lawyer Herve Gouamene said.

He added that a ninth person’s request for release was turned down by the appeals court in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire’s economic capital.

Many members of the former Ivorian government, including Gbagbo himself, were detained in April and May as the crisis reached its end.

Gouamene said he had filed 65 requests for provisional release, but the court has only heard nine cases so far.

Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) political party has said it will not participate in December 11 legislative elections unless Gbagbo is released from house arrest.

The country’s President Alassane Ouattara has tipped the vote as crucial to fostering national reconciliation after the post-election standoff that left about 3 000 people dead.

But his government has declined to release Gbagbo, and Ouattara has previously said the former leader could face both domestic and international prosecutions.

Multiple sources have confirmed that a number of Gbagbo allies have been declared as candidates for the upcoming poll, but are presenting themselves as independents so as not to compromise the FPI’s tentative boycott.—AFP

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