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Former president of Mauritania will get 5-year jail sentence for corruption

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Attorneys for Mauritania’s former President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz say he has been sentenced to 5 years in jail for cash laundering and self-enrichment

ByAHMED MOHAMED Related Press and SAM METZ Related Press

December 5, 2023, 11:30 AM

FILE – On this Jan. 20, 2019, file photograph, Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, heart, attends the Arab Financial and Social Growth Summit, in Beirut, Lebanon. A Mauritanian courtroom handed down a five-year sentence to Aziz discovering him responsible of cash laundering and self-enrichment, his attorneys advised The Related Press on Tuesday. (AP Photograph/Bilal Hussein, File)

The Related Press

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NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania — A Mauritanian courtroom handed down a five-year jail sentence to the nation’s former President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz after discovering him responsible of cash laundering and self-enrichment, his attorneys mentioned Tuesday.

The Monday verdict wraps up a uncommon corruption trial in west Africa and closes a chapter within the lengthy trajectory of a strongman who helped lead two coups earlier than serving two phrases as president and changing into a counterterrorism associate to Western nations together with the U.S.

Within the landmark 11-month trial, Aziz and different prime Mauritanian officers had been accused of siphoning cash from the nation to complement themselves. It marked a uncommon occasion during which an African chief was tried for corruption, although Aziz’s attorneys lengthy framed the trial as a matter of score-settling between him and present President Mohamed Ould Cheikh Ghazouani.

“This can be a political verdict whose final goal is to deprive the president of civic rights,” protection lawyer Taleb Khyar advised The Related Press.

The 2 males had been lengthy allies, however their relations soured after Ghazouani changed Aziz as president in 2019 within the nation’s first peaceable switch of presidency since independence.

Ghazouani and Aziz fought over Aziz’s makes an attempt to take over a significant political get together after leaving workplace. A parliamentary fee subsequently opened a corruption inquiry in opposition to Aziz and 11 different defendants in 2020. In Monday’s verdict, the courtroom cleared 4 former authorities ministers — together with two prime ministers — of the identical fees.

The courtroom ordered the confiscation of Aziz’s illegally acquired property. It dropped a number of fees, together with embezzlement and hurt to the general public good.


Metz reported from Rabat, Morocco.

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