Ivorians exiled in SA celebrate release of Simone Gbagbo

Former Ivory Coast's first lady Simone, was sentenced to a 20-year jail term for endangering state security in 2015.
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Ivorians, many exiled in South Africa, are celebrating the release and amnesty of former First Lady Simone Gbagbo.

Her husband Laurent Gbagbo has been in detention at the International Criminal Court at The Hague since 2011.

They were arrested for their role in political violence that claimed several thousand lives following the 2010 elections in the Ivory Coast.

Former Ivory Coast’s first lady Simone was sentenced to a 20-year jail term for endangering state security in 2015.

She was found guilty of many crimes including masterminding the 2011 shelling of a market in an Abidjan district that supported President Alassane Ouattara.

Last week she was released after being granted amnesty by President Alassane Ouattara.

Ivory Coast FPI in South Africa, Mesmer Zuzwa says:Today she is released but that is not a decision of Mr Outarra. He is under pressure at home and internationally. He was used by France to fight with us.”

About 3 000 people died in post-election violence in the country’s commercial capital, Abidjan, when Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept defeat to Ouattara, following presidential elections in November 2010.

But his party maintains his innocence.

Ivory Coast FPI Party in South Africa, Oupa Sisinyo says:We should see the truth of what happened. President Gbagbo and the FPI won elections, and a rebellion came, and people died. The question is who caused the rebellion?  Where are those who came in to cause the rebellion?”

Like the Gbagbo’s many of these Ivorians still fear that they too will be arrested if they return home.

Meanwhile, Laurent Gbagbo’s trial that started at the ICC two years ago, continues.