CAR: Ex-president Bozizé handed life sentence in absentia

CAR: Ex-president Bozizé handed life sentence in absentia

Central African Republic’s (CAR) exiled former President François Bozizé, who became a rebel leader, has been sentenced in absentia to forced labor for life for conspiracy and rebellion, the country’s authorities said on Friday (22 September).

A judgement from the CAR’s justice ministry said the ex-president was sentenced on Thursday (21 September). Two of Bozizé’s sons and 20 others, including rebel leaders, were handed the same sentence as the ex-president, also in absentia. They were also convicted of compromising the internal security of the state and “murders”, according to the judgement that was handed by an appeals court in the capital Bangui, though it does not give any details on the time period concerned or the crimes.

The 76-year-old Bozizé, who seized power in the CAR in 2003 but was toppled a decade later, was in exile in Chad until March when he moved to Guinea Bissau. The ex-resident leads an alliance of rebel groups called the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), formed in December 2020.

The CAR government alleges the group seeks to overthrow Bozizé’s successor, Faustin Archange Touadera. One of the world’s poorest countries, the CAR has been torn by a civil war since 2013 when Muslim-dominated armed groups ousted Bozizé. He later set up armed militias known as the anti-Balakas, who were mainly Christian, to try to regain power.

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