Côte d’Ivoire Alert: Pro-Gbagbo journalists on trial for post-election violence

Six journalists, Franck Anderson Kouassi, Armand Bohui, Herman Aboa, Gnahoua Zibrabi, Guézé Kanon Germain and Serges Boguet appeared before the Abidjan Circuit Court on February 3, 2015.

The MFWA’s correspondent in Côte d’Ivoire reported that these six journalists were invited by court president Dembele Tahirou to respond to the “facts of breach of national security and attempt or plot against state authority”; “the facts of organising armed gangs, leading or participating in an insurrectional movement, disturbance of public order”; and “acts of rebellion, tribalism and xenophobia”.

According to the correspondent, there are actually seven journalists standing trial in the proceedings initiated against pro-Gbagbo officials following the 2011–2012 post-election crises in Côte d’Ivoire. However, since the seventh journalist, Danielle Boni Claverie, served as a minister under Gbagbo’s administration, she will be tried as a former minister.

According to the correspondent, the judge will have to demonstrate that “by their actions that resulted in a resolution, the accused allowed for communication, with the help of media, through the media, statements and appeals/calls which provoked/caused violent and concerted actions carried out by the youth against the ONUCI (Opération des Nations Unies en Côte d’Ivoire; English: United Nations Operations in Côte d’Ivoire, UNOCI) and foreigners, exposing Côte d’Ivoire to a declaration of war or to revenge attacks.”

Currently in Côte d’Ivoire, 83 people believed to be sympathisers of former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo are standing trial for the political crises which officially resulted in the death of about 3000 people and extensive destruction of properties.

The trial began on December 29, 2014. The hearings began on January 7, 2015, with a first group of 42 accused persons being detained at the Abidjan remand and reformatory centre (French: la Maison d’arrêt et de correction d’Abidjan, MACA).

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