An Abidjan court has sentenced Simone Gbagbo, former First Lady of Ivory Coast to 20 years in jail following her role in the violence that followed the country’s 2010 elections.
The 65-year-old Gbagbo, had been charged with undermining state security. Laurent Gbagbo, her husband, and former Ivorian President is also awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court, ICC, The Hague.
More than 3,000 people died in the violence that trailed the presidential poll after the ex-leader refused to accept defeat to Alassane Ouattara, a co-contender in the Presidential elections.
She and her husband were arrested in 2011 after troops stormed a bunker where the pair had taken refuge in the main city, Abidjan.
And it was in the same city where Gbagbo – once called the “Iron Lady” – faced trial. She was also accused of disturbing public order and organising armed gangs.
The court unanimously sentenced her to 20 years, twice as long as the prosecutors had asked for.
Marie Antoinette Singleton her daughter, said the sentence is unfair and a sign of “political justice.”
“Why would you want to double it? It’s not about justice, it’s about getting rid of political adversaries. If we say that something wrong happened, it happened on both sides. Nobody looked into bringing all responsible parties to trial,” she said.
However Simone Gbagbo’s lawyer has disclosed that the ruling will be appealed at a higher court.
Laurent Gbagbo, is facing a four-count charge at the ICC in The Hague, including murder, rape and persecution.
The ICC had issued an arrest warrant for Simone Gbagbo too, but this was dismissed by the Ivorian government which insisted on prosecuting the former First Lady at home.