Ex-Ivory Coast First lady Gbagbo Goes on Trial

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ABIDJAN—Ivory Coast's former first lady Simone Gbagbo went on trial in

Abidjan on Friday for her alleged role in stealing an election her

husband lost in 2010 and resisting efforts to dislodge him in a civil

war that followed.

The trial of Gbagbo and 82 other civilians and soldiers is the most

important of its kind in the country since Laurent Gbagbo was driven

from the presidency in April 2011 and replaced by the winner of the

October 2010 vote, Alassane Ouattara.

The trial before nine jurors began under heavy security and was being

widely followed by Ivorians via radio broadcasts, witnesses said. It

is expected to last at least a month, according to lawyers.

"If she is found guilty, she will get 20 years to life because we are

talking about a crime against state security," said prosecutor

Soungalo Coulibaly.

Ivory Coast had earlier refused a request to hand over Simone Gbagbo

to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where her husband is

being held, arguing she should be tried in a domestic court.

Laurent Gbagbo and an associate, Charles Ble Goude, are being held in

the Netherlands pending trial at the ICC on charges including crimes

against humanity.

Accusations against all three stem from events that followed 2010

elections. Gbagbo lost to Ouattara but declared himself the winner and

was only driven out by rebels and an international military force led

by France.

Some 3,000 people died in the war that was widely viewed as avoidable

had Gbagbo stepped down. Simone Gbagbo gained a reputation during her

husband's decade in power as an influential hardliner who rallied

opposition to the country's northern rebels.

Since the war, the former first lady has been under house arrest in

northern Ivory Coast. She was brought to the commercial capital

Abidjan this month ahead of her trial.


Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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