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Ivorian Opposition Leader Sentenced in Absentia to Life in Prison

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ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — A court in Ivory Coast has sentenced the prominent opposition figure and former Prime Minister Guillaume Soro to life in prison for “undermining the security of the state.”

A criminal court in the West African country’s largest city, Abidjan, also ordered the dissolution of Mr. Soro’s political movement, which was created after he resigned as speaker of the legislature in 2019.

Mr. Soro, who lives in exile in France, was tried in absentia. An international arrest warrant has been issued for him, and for five others living outside the country.

Mr. Soro called the verdict unjust. “I totally reject these unfair verdicts, pronounced outside all the rules of law and dictated only by political considerations,” he said in a statement on his Twitter account.

“These verdicts reinforce my conviction that we must fight courageously and without weakness against the capture of the Ivorian state,” he added.

Mr. Soro, a former rebel leader who went on to become the president of the National Assembly, had already been sentenced last year to 20 years in prison on charges of embezzling public funds and money laundering. His supporters say the charges are politically motivated.

Mr. Soro, blocked from running in the country’s presidential election last year, has called on the military to disobey President Alassane Ouattara, who won a third term in a contentious election.


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