News24

Madagascar ex-leader sued

2012-07-18 08:26

Johannesburg - Madagascar's exiled former president Marc Ravalomanana was served with a summons on Tuesday over a $23m lawsuit filed by victims of 2009 unrest that led to his ousting, his lawyer said.

According to the legal papers delivered to his hotel in Pretoria, Ravalomanana is expected to appear at a South African court on 1 August for a hearing in the case.

The former leader has been exiled in South Africa since 2009.

He faces life in prison after being sentenced in absentia for the killing of demonstrators by his presidential guard during protests that led to his overthrow in 2009. Thirty-six people were killed and hundreds wounded.

His rival Andry Rajoelina then seized power in an army-backed coup in the face of regional condemnation, but has failed to steer the vast Indian Ocean island nation back to democracy.

Authorities in Madagascar have twice blocked Ravalomanana and his wife from returning to his home country.

Ravalomanana's spokesperson in South Africa, Mutumwa Mawere, said he was aware of the lawsuit against him.

"We know about this case. They have been trying to bring it against the president in South Africa for some time," he said.

He told AFP that Ravalomana's team was preparing for a meeting with Madagascar's political players in the next week.