Ivory Coast ex prime minister, Guillaume Soro sentenced to 20 years in prison
London, April 29, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Guillaume Soro, a former prime minister and currently a presidential candidate in Ivory Coast was on Tuesday convicted in absentia of embezzlement and sentenced to 20 years in prison
Reuters reports that the verdict was announced after a trial that lasted only a few hours and was boycotted by Soro’s lawyers, who have denounced the allegations against him as a deliberate attempt aimed at excluding him from the October election.
Soro who is currently in exile in Europe is also by the order of the court stripped of his civic rights for seven years.
Prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Soro in December – just before he planned to return home from Europe to launch his campaign – for allegedly plotting a coup against his former ally Ouattara’s government and stealing public funds.
Soro has denied the charges, which he says are intended to prevent him from challenging Ouattara’s preferred successor, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, in the election.
“Guillaume Kigbafori Soro is condemned to 20 years in prison for embezzling funds and laundering public resources,” said the judge, Cissoko Amouroulaye. The court also ordered that Soro be stripped of his civic rights for seven years.
Soro, 47, is expected to face another trial over the coup allegations.
Soro led the rebels that swept Ouattara to power during the civil war that followed his disputed election victory in 2010.
He went on to serve as prime minister and speaker of parliament under Ouattara but the two men later fell out as the president made clear he would oppose Soro’s presidential ambitions.