I Coast FPI-leader charged for plotting

2013-06-11 20:48
Former Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo. (Picture: AFP)

Former Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo. (Picture: AFP)

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Abidjan - An Abidjan court has charged the youth leader of former president Laurent Gbagbo's party with plotting to destabilise the state, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

Justin Koua was arrested on 7 June and charged on Monday with "insulting the head of state, undermining national security... plotting against authority, heading and belonging to an armed gang".

His lawyer Rodrigue Dadje told AFP that Koua, the youth leader of Gbagbo's Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), was questioned by intelligence officers and locked up in Abidjan's central prison.

Dadje described the arrest during a meeting at the FPI headquarters in the economic capital as "a serious violation of the fundamental rights" of his client.

Gbagbo's party said it was "one arrest too many" and slammed President Alassane Ouattara, of whom Koua is a vocal critic, for crushing political and other freedoms.

Ouattara came to power in 2011 after months of unrest that broke out when Gbagbo, who had been in power 10 years, refused to concede electoral defeat.

The violence left an estimated 3 000 people dead.

Gbagbo was transferred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where he faces charges of crimes against humanity.

Several of his top aides and FPI stalwarts remain behind bars, prompting accusations Ouattara is handing down victor's justice and not doing enough for reconciliation.

Ouattara's camp retorts that Gbagbo loyalists continue to be involved in sporadic armed incidents across the west African nation and attempts to destabilise the regime.

Doudou Diene, an expert for the United Nations on the human rights situation in Ivory Coast, said the arrest "sent a negative message unlikely to foster dialogue".

He said more efforts were needed to contain tensions, especially in light of the deteriorating security situation in the neighbouring Sahel region and with fresh elections looming in 2015.

"A national vision based on the Ivorian people's supreme interest and on a new political ethic should trump partisan politicking and gamesmanship," Diene said.

Read more on:    laurent gbagbo  |  ivory coast  |  west africa
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