Ex-Congo army chief gets 20 years in jail
BRAZZAVILLE: A court in Congo Republic sentenced exarmy chief and opposition presidential candidate Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko to 20 years in prison on Friday on charges of violating state security and illegal possession of weapons.
Mokoko, a power broker in the former French colony’s 1990s civil war, finished third to long-serving President Denis Sassou Nguesso in a March 2016 election that was criticised by opposition parties and foreign powers for irregularities. He was arrested in June 2016.
Prosecutors accused of Mokoko and several co-defendants of amassing arms as far back as 2005 in the aim of overthrowing Sassou Nguesso’s government. The co-accused received the same prison sentence. They now have three days to appeal the verdict. Mokoko declined to speak in his own defence during the trial, which opened on Monday, claiming that having been awarded the honour of Commander of the Congolese Order of Merit he benefited from immunity from prosecution. Malaysia’s newly elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Saturday he had stopped his predecessor Najib Razak from leaving the country, and sacked the attorney general who had cleared him of involvement in a multi-billion-dollar scandal.
“It is true that I prevented Najib from leaving the country ....as far as I know, he and his wife (were prevented from leaving). I’m not aware of other people,” Mahathir told reporters at a news conference.