Former Comoros President Ahmed Abdallah Sambi received a life sentence for high treason after being found guilty of selling passports to stateless individuals residing in the Gulf.
A law authorizing the selling of passports for hefty prices was pushed through in 2008 by Sambi, the leader of the tiny Indian Ocean archipelago from 2006 to 2011.
The so-called bidoon, an Arab minority of tens of thousands who are denied citizenship, were the target of the program. According to the allegations, the former president embezzled millions of dollars.
According to the prosecution, the price was higher than the GDP of the underdeveloped country at $1.8 billion.
Sambi, 64, a fierce foe of President Azali Assoumani, received a sentence from the State Security Court.
Court president Omar Ben Ali who read out the verdict which also stripped the former leader of the right to vote and hold public office, said;
“Sambi is sentenced to life imprisonment.
“The court orders his property and assets to be confiscated to the benefit of the public treasury.”
Sambi was found guilty in absentia, according to AFP, for declining to appear in court. He made a brief appearance at the first hearing, where his attorneys unsuccessfully requested the judge’s disqualification because the judge had previously served on the grand jury that had indicted their client.
Before going on trial, the former president of the Comoros had already been imprisoned for four years, significantly longer than the permitted eight months. He was initially put under home arrest for upsetting the peace.
- Tijani Pepper is a news reporter at Panel News, and gistreportar. He is a passionate journalist in Politics, Sports development and investigative journalism.
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