Cote d’Ivoire : pro-Soro MP Lobognon released after his sentence reduction in appeal

National Assembly Member Alain Lobognon was sentenced to twelve months in prison and fined three hundred thousand francs CFA. Photo : Abidjan.net

NEWSROOM (ADV) – The deputy Alain Lobognon, close to the former leader, Guillaume Soro, saw on Wednesday his prison sentence suspended on appeal.

The President of the Court of Appeal, Ali Yeo, who followed the indictment of Attorney General Marie-Leonard Lebry, called for the immediate release of Mr. Lobognon whose incarceration on January 15 and sentencing to prison had leaked a lot of ink in a tense political climate in the run-up to the presidential election of 2020.

He was found guilty of “spreading false news, incitement to violence and disturbing public order” in the first instance.

Aged 50, former Minister of Youth and Sports (2011-2015), Mr. Lobognon, who stopped Sunday a hunger strike, seemed relieved by the decision.

“It’s a decision half fig-half grape,” said one of his advisors, Me Affoussiata Bamba Lamine, former minister and also close to Guillaume Soro.

“This is the first time perhaps in the world that an elected official is condemned for a tweet, it does not do honor to our country,” concluded Mr. Bamba, who speaks of “political trial”.

The Attorney General, who pointed out that the MP had not been arrested, said that “there were actions that should not be done lightly.” In a context of turmoil, it could only serve to encourage people to take to the streets. “

Guillaume Soro resigned Friday as Speaker of the National Assembly, pushed to the exit by his former ally, President Alassane Ouattara. Mr. Soro refused to participate in the transformation of the ruling coalition into a large unified party. Since then, Mr. Soro, to whom one lends presidential ambitions, has affirmed on Twitter: “I return the stool, to seek the chair”.

The 77-year-old Ivorian president has not revealed his intentions regarding a possible candidacy. The Constitution adopted in 2016 does not allow a third term, but there is legal uncertainty about the application of this provision.

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