ICoast president Ouattara pardons predecessor Gbagbo

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Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara announced Saturday that he had pardoned his predecessor, Laurent Gbagbo, who still faced a 20-year jail term for a 2018 conviction over political unrest.

"In the interests of reinforcing social cohesion, I have signed a decree granting a presidential pardon," Ouattara said in a speech to mark the 62nd anniversary of the country's independence.

He had also asked that Gbagbo's bank accounts be unfrozen and that his life annuity be paid, he added.

And he had signed a decree for the release two of Gbagbo's closest associates, former navy chief Vagba Faussignaux and a former commander of a key gendarmerie unit, Jean-Noel Abehi, both convicted for their role in the post-election unrest.

Gbagbo was acquitted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes committed during the 2011 civil conflict that broke out after he refused to recognise Ouattara's victory in presidential elections a year earlier.

But in 2018, an Ivorian court handed Gbagbo a 20-year term in absentia over the looting of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) during the country's post-election crisis.

After his acquittal by the ICC, Gbagbo returned from exile in 2021, and the 77-year-old political veteran has kept a low profile since.

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