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Former Mauritania President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz arrested

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Police arrested Mauritania’s former president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz on Tuesday on the eve of his trial for abuse of energy and amassing a bootleg fortune, a lawyer stated.

The 66-year-old was first informed to report back to police, however refused, defence attorneys stated.

The police “got here to search for him at dwelling” within the capital Nouakchott, armed with a warrant. He was arrested with out incident, the attorneys stated.

The uncommon prosecution of a former African head of state was because of open on Wednesday morning, with Abdel Aziz spending the evening in custody.

A number of different figures from his former regime, additionally dealing with prices of corruption, cash laundering and illicit enrichment, have been additionally arrested, a safety supply stated.

The ex-general got here to energy in a coup and spent 11 years on the helm. He stepped down in 2019 after two presidential phrases during which he defused a jihadist insurgency threatening the conservative West African state.

He was succeeded by his former right-hand man, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani within the first switch of energy between elected leaders within the historical past of a rustic marked by army coups and upheaval.

In 2020, a parliamentary investigation was opened into monetary dealings below Abdel Aziz’s presidency.

It delved into oil revenues, gross sales of state belongings, the winding up of a public firm in command of meals provides and the actions of a Chinese language fishing firm.

Expenses have been then introduced in opposition to Abdel Aziz and 11 others, together with certainly one of his sons-in-law, two former prime ministers and several other ex-ministers and businessmen.

The previous president is suspected of amassing a fortune equal to greater than $72 million.

He has refused to reply questions concerning the supply of his wealth and decries a political machination.

Abdel Aziz wrote in a be aware launched by attorneys on Tuesday that he’ll seem in courtroom “to defend his honour” in opposition to “extravagant and fallacious accusations”.

He claims immunity from prosecution below the structure.