Mauritania’s former president jailed for five years for corruption

Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz waits for the arrival of the French President at Nouakchott airport, Mauritania, July 2, 2018. Ludovic Marin/Pool via Reuters/ File photo
KZE6NJ3HONP2PD7O6GU2DSFZJU Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel

Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the former president of Mauritania, was found guilty of money laundering and “illicit enrichment” and received a sentence of five years in jail following his conviction.

After being brought to power in a coup in 2008, Abdel Aziz served as the leader of the West African nation for a decade. He was a supporter of Western powers in their struggle against Islamist extremists present in the Sahel area. Since January, he has been on trial, and he has rejected claims of corruption.

After an investigation into claims of misappropriation of public property and corruption, the court ultimately decided that Abdel Aziz was guilty of two of the ten counts brought against him late Monday.

The decision was described as “a political verdict targeting a man and his family” by one of his attorneys. According to the prosecution, the conviction of the former head of state was a historic event.

Some of Abdel Aziz’s allies who had also been on trial were found not guilty by the court, which specializes in economic crimes and corruption cases. Among those dismissed from the case were two former prime ministers.

Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, a political ally of Abdel Aziz, took over as president in 2019. However, Abdel Aziz’s government was rapidly under criticism due to acts such as transactions on offshore oil projects. Ghazouani continues to serve as president. Abdel Aziz can file an appeal with the Supreme Court regarding his sentencing.

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