NewsAfricaex-presidents Bédié and Gbagbo absent from independence day

    ex-presidents Bédié and Gbagbo absent from independence day

    Despite the presidential pardon granted the day before to Laurent Gbagbo, the former Ivorian president and his predecessor Henri Konan Bédié did not join Alassane Ouattara on Sunday to celebrate the 62nd anniversary of the independence of Côte d’Ivoire.

    The absence was noticed in Côte d’Ivoire. Former Presidents Laurent Gbagbo and Henri Konan Bédié did not respond to the invitation made by the current Head of State Alassane Ouattara to participate, Sunday August 7, in the celebrations of the 62e anniversary of the independence of Côte d’Ivoire, in Yamoussoukro, in the center of the country.

    Despite the presidential pardon granted the day before to Laurent Gbagbo, who was still under sentence of 20 years in prison in his country, neither he nor Henri Konan Bédié, opponents of Alassane Ouattara, were in the official platform, according to images from public television RTI which broadcast the ceremony live.

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    Henri Konan Bédié’s spokesperson, Cyrielle Koné Obré, said in a statement that the former president was unable to attend the ceremony for “personal reasons”, but that he had “mandated” a delegation of five leaders of his party to participate.

    During a speech delivered on Saturday on the eve of Independence Day, President Ouattara announced that he had signed “a decree granting presidential pardon” to Laurent Gbagbo, “in order to strengthen national cohesion”.

    He had also announced that he had requested that “his accounts be unfrozen and his life annuity arrears be paid” and that he had signed a decree granting “conditional release” to two former figures of the regime’s military and security apparatus. Laurent Gbagbo, convicted for their role in the 2010-2011 crisis.

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    Laurent Gbagbo, 77, definitively acquitted in March 2021 of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague where he had been transferred at the end of 2011, returned to his country on June 17, 2021 with the green light d Alassane Ouattara.

    Without ever having been worried since his return, he nevertheless remained under the influence in Côte d’Ivoire of a 20-year prison sentence for the “robbery” of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO). during the crisis of 2010-2011.

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    Two African heads of state present

    After Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to recognize Alassane Ouattara’s victory in the presidential election at the end of 2010, violence left some 3,000 dead until Laurent Gbagbo’s arrest in Abidjan in April 2011.

    His pardon was granted shortly after a July 14 meeting between Alassane Ouattara, Laurent Gbagbo and Henri Konan Bédié in Abidjan.

    Two West African heads of state were however present at the ceremonies in the Ivorian political capital, Yamoussoukro: the Bissau-Guinean Umaro Sissoco Embalo, who is also current president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS ), as well as George Weah, from Liberia.

    With AFP

    Source: France 24

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