ICoast`s Gbagbo charged with `economic crimes`

Ivory Coast ex-president Gbagbo and his wife Simone have been placed under preventative detention.

Abidjan: Ivory Coast ex-president Laurent Gbagbo and his wife Simone have been charged with "economic crimes" and placed under preventative detention, the public prosecutor has announced.

Gbagbo was charged yesterday evening with "economic crimes (including) aggravated theft, attacks on the national economy, embezzlement of public funds, pillage," prosecutor Simplice Kouadio Koffi told reporters, shortly after announcing similar charges against Gbagbo`s wife.

Gbagbo and his wife were already under house arrest, he in Korhogo and she in Odienne, both northern cities.

The couple was originally held on April 11 after a four-month conflict and two weeks of full-out war sparked by Gbagbo`s refusal to concede to Alassane Ouattara after November 2010 elections.

According to the prosecutor, the charges against Simone Gbagbo were laid on Tuesday.

Their arrest brings to more than 80 the number of Gbagbo supporters placed in custody since the end of the conflict.

These include the president of the former ruling Ivorian People`s Front (FPI) Pascal Affi N`Guessan, and Gbagbo`s son, French-Ivorian Michel Gbagbo.

Ouattara`s government hopes that the The International Criminal Court in The Hague, which has not yet officially opened an enquiry into the unrest, will eventually try the former presidential couple.

In June the court`s prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo asked
judges for permission to probe alleged war crimes and crimes
against humanity after Ivory Coast`s disputed election.


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