Tuesday, March 3, 2015 6:22 pm
Prosecutors in Ivory Coast asked judges Tuesday to sentence former first lady Simone Gbagbo to a ten-year prison term on charges of “undermining state security” during post-election violence in 2010-2011 that left nearly 3,000 dead.
The wife of former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo is also accused of “disturbing public order” and “organising armed gangs” after her husband and his supporters rejected results of December 2010 presidential elections showing rival Alassane Ouattara had won the contest.
“Simone Gbagbo most certainly participated in the composition of armed gangs,” state prosecutor Simon Yabo Odi told the court Tuesday, adding “her men… participated in an insurrectional movement.”
Once referred to by admirers and opponents alike as Ivory Coast’s “Iron Lady,” Simone Gbagbo has been on trial since January with 82 co-defendants accused of varying degrees of involvement in the deadly unrest.
As she has been throughout the trial, Simone Gbagbo, 65, was unflappable as prosecutors made their sentencing request.
The previous day, the former first lady gave testimony for nearly four hours, confronting witnesses who said they’d seen her distributing arms to youths in Abidjan with flat denials.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed in months of post-election violence ultimately halted by the intervention of international forces acting under a UN mandate, and led by former colonial power France.
Prosecutors in the case are also seeking a five-year prison sentence for Gbagbo’s son, Michel, and a two-year term for Affi N’Guessan — the former head of the couple’s political party — for their respective roles in the violence.