(Ecofin Agency) - Ivorian Guillaume Soro (pictured) said he is maintaining his presidential candidacy, despite the heavy judicial sentence of 20 years in prison he is now facing for “concealment of stolen assets” and “money laundering.” The sentence was decided on April 28 by the Criminal Court of Abidjan, after a trial of a few hours in which his lawyers did not take part.
“I'm still running for president and I'll win,” Soro said. He is forced to currently stay in France since he is also facing CFA4.5 billion (about $7.5 million) in damages to the Ivorian state and seven years of deprivation of his civil rights, under an international arrest warrant.
This latter sentence was pronounced a few days after the April 22 decision of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) ordering the Ivorian government to maintain the execution of arrest warrant against Soro.
“This is a sentence that does not affect us at all. The parody of a trial we have witnessed today is the ultimate proof that the rule of law is definitively buried by Alassane Ouattara,” Guillaume Soro reacted.
“I tell him that this decision does not shake us. I consider this verdict as a non-event. I maintain my candidacy for the presidential election and I ask all my supporters to remain mobilized and to continue the work of mobilization. There is no doubt about our victory. We will win the next presidential election, that's a certainty,” he said.
Beyond the image of a confident man that Soro wants to boast, the fact remains that unless legal recourse is successful, there are great uncertainties about the possibility that he can participate in the next presidential election officially scheduled for October 2020.