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Ouattara pardons 3100 prisoners held over post-poll violence

Ouattara pardons 3100 prisoners held over post-poll violence

Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara announced in his New Year’s address that he had reduced the sentences of 3,100 prisoners held over post-election violence.

Around 3,000 people died in five months of violence in 2010-2011 in the west African nation following elections that saw Ouattara unseat then president Laurent Gbagbo.

The crisis erupted after the strongman leader refused to concede defeat, sparking months of violence that eventually drew in international troops.

He did not give a breakdown of how many prisoners would go free immediately and how many would remain behind bars.

“I have decided to use my right of clemency to grant full and partial sentence reductions,” Ouattara said.

He did not give a breakdown of how many prisoners would go free immediately and how many would remain behind bars.

Campaigners cautiously welcomed the announcement. “Ordinary prisoners will be pardoned but for political prisoners, that grace does not solve the problem,” said Seri Gouagnon, a Gbagbo supporter.

“The most important thing is that he follows through on the announcement,” Desiree Douati, the head of a group that represents the families of those in prison in Ivory Coast, AFFDO-CI, told AFP.

Ouattara, a former economist, won a second five-year term by a landslide in October in the nation’s first peaceful vote in more than a decade.

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