Former rebel leader and Prime Minister Guillaume Soro was tried in absentia for “endangering state security.” Observers say the conviction was related to his presidential ambitions.
Guillaume Soro, a former rebel leader and prime minister of Ivory Coast, was sentenced to life in prison by a criminal court in the capital Abidjan on Wednesday. Soro was sentenced in absentia in a case that began on May 19, and saw he and 19 associates on trial for activities ahead of the country’s 2020 presidential election.
The court found Soro and his associates guilty of having committed acts “endangering state security” and “civil and military insurrection” ahead of elections controversially won by incumbent President Allasane Ouattara in October 2020. Several of Soro’s associates received 20-year sentences for their role in the activities in question.
Two of Soro’s brothers and another close associate were also handed 17-month sentences for “disturbing public order.” Beyond the prison sentences, the court fined the defendants, ordering them to pay the Ivorian state a penalty of roughly €150 million ($179 million).
The court also ordered the confiscation of properties belonging to Soro and his associates for the “subversive acts” they are accused of having committed.