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Simone Gbagbo denies charges, complains of rape attempt in 2011

Simone Gbagbo denies charges, complains of rape attempt in 2011

Ivory Coast

Former Ivorian first lady Simone Gbagbo on Wednesday rejected a court’s charges of crimes against humanity during the 2010 wave of violence, claiming she suffered attempted rape in detention.

“Mr. Chairman, I have been brought before this court for crimes I did not commit. I have been accused of things that are not established as facts, alluding to my direct involvement in the violence,” she said.

During the first day of her trial on Tuesday, Simone denied the charges.

The wife of former president Laurent Gbagbo, nicknamed Ivory Coast’s “Iron Lady”, also said she suffered a rape attempt when she and her husband were arrested on April 11, 2011.

For several hours, her lawyers challenged the court’s jurisdiction, claiming that Mrs. Gbagbo could not be prosecuted for “crimes against humanity” and “war crimes” committed in 2011 since these charges had not been included in Ivory Coast’s penal code since March 2015.

Mrs Gbagbo is currently serving a 20-year sentence which was handed to her last year for charges on “endangering state security”.

AFP