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Comoros seeks life sentence for ex-president Ahmed Abdallah Sambi for top treason

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Prosecutors within the Comoros on Thursday sought a life sentence for former president Ahmed Abdallah Sambi who was tried in absentia for top treason.

Sambi, 64, the arch opponent to present president Azali Assoumani, faces expenses associated to the alleged sale of Comorian passports to stateless individuals dwelling in Gulf nations.

“He betrayed the mission entrusted to him by the Comorians,” mentioned public prosecutor Ali Mohamed Djounaid earlier than the elite State Safety Courtroom.

He demanded life imprisonment for Sambi, who will likely be sentenced on November 29.

Sambi, who led the small Indian Ocean archipelago between 2006 and 2011, handed a legislation in 2008 permitting the sale of passports at an exorbitant price.

“They gave thugs the precise to promote Comorian nationality like we might promote peanuts,” mentioned Togolese lawyer Eric Emmanuel Sossa, who’s sitting on the prosecution bench.

The ex-leader is accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of {dollars} below the scheme.

However Sambi’s French lawyer, Jean-Gilles Halimi mentioned there isn’t any proof of this cash — “no account found”.

Sambi refused to attend the trial, as his legal professionals mentioned there have been no ensures he can be judged pretty.

He solely appeared on Monday along with his legal professionals asking the decide to recuse himself as a result of he had beforehand sat on the panel that determined to indict him.

Sambi has already spent 4 years behind bars and was initially positioned below home arrest for disturbing public order.

Three months later he was put below pre-trial detention for embezzlement, corruption and forgery, within the so-called “financial citizenship” scandal.

He was then charged with excessive treason.

Among the many defendants was French Syrian businessman Bashar Kiwan who accused the federal government of searching for to strain him into testifying towards the previous president in alternate for a pardon.

The presidency has formally denied these accusations however the defence has indicated to AFP its intention to file a grievance for tampering with witnesses.

The Comoros islands — Anjouan, Grande Comore and Moheli — have endured years of grinding poverty and political turmoil, together with about 20 coups or tried coups, since independence from France in 1975.