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Mauritania’s ex-President Aziz jailed for five years for corruption

A court in Mauritania has jailed former President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz for five years for corruption.

It found Aziz guilty of money laundering and abusing his position to illegally enrich himself, but acquitted him on other charges.

The court also ordered the confiscation of his illegally acquired assets.

Aziz, 66, was elected president in 2009 after toppling President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi in a coup, and went on to lead Mauritania until 2019.

He had been on trial in the capital, Nouakchott, since January, alongside 10 other prominent figures, including two former prime ministers and former ministers who served in his administration.

They had been charged with several offences, including abuse of power, money laundering, illicit enrichment and influence peddling.

The court, which specialises in corruption and economic crimes, also sentenced some of the co-accused on Monday, albeit to lighter sentences than Aziz, while the former prime ministers and two ex-ministers were acquitted.

Aziz maintained his innocence throughout the trial and described his prosecution as politically motivated.

He is said to have fallen out with his successor and current President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, who was once his close political ally, the AFP news agency reports.

He is also alleged to have amassed immense wealth during his decade-long rule.

“The trial we attended was a political trial, and its verdict is also very political,” one of Aziz’s lawyers, Mohameden Ould Icheddou, was quoted as saying by AFP.

His lawyers have also said that they plan to appeal against the verdict.

Source: peacefmonline.com

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