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Comoros court hands ex-president Sambi life sentence

November 28, 2022

Ahmed Abdullah Sambi has been convicted of high treason for selling Comoros passports to stateless people. The ruling by the State Security Court cannot be appealed.

A court in the Comoros on Monday convicted former president Ahmed Abdallah Sambi of high treason.

Sambi, who had been accused of selling passports to stateless people living in the Persian Gulf, has been given a life sentence.

The State Security Court ruling cannot be appealed.

What was said during court proceedings?

"He betrayed the mission entrusted to him by the Comorians," public prosecutor Ali Mohamed Djounaid said.

"They gave thugs the right to sell Comorian nationality as if they were selling peanuts," civilian plaintiff lawyer Eric Emmanuel Sossa said.

Sambi's lawyer argued that "no evidence" of missing money had been presented, and said that the crime of high treason "does not exist in Comorian law." Sambi was initially prosecuted for corruption before charges were reclassified.

Sambi was president of the Comoros between 2006 and 2011.

In 2008, Sambi's government passed a law that allowed the sale of passports. It was aimed at stateless people living in the Persian Gulf.

The former president was accused of embezzling millions of dollars under the passport scheme.

Sambi refused to attend the trial, and his lawyers said there were no guarantees he would be judged fairly.

The former president was initially put under house arrest for disturbing public order, three months after which he was put in pre-trial detention for embezzlement, corruption and forgery.

sdi/kb (AFP, AP)

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