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Simone Gbagbo released from jail after presidential amnesty

Ivory Coast

After 7 years in prison, former Côte d’Ivoire First Lady Simone Gbagbo left her jail cell on Wednesday.

President Alassane Ouattara announced his amnesty on the eve of the Ivorian Independence day. The strong gesture was especially welcomed political figures who attended the national celebrations.

“It was a general surprise and it is the most beautiful speech the president has made since 1982. Everything was there (in the speech): peace, consolidation, the release of political prisoners – the very ones we did not expect,” said political opinion leader, Franck Kouyate.

“You know freedom has no price. That the president has decided to extend amnesty notably to Mrs. Simone Gbagbo and many others, I believe that it is a mark of reconciliation it is therefore a strong signal for national reconciliation,” said Alassane Diamoutene, Director of Cabinet of the Ministry of National Integration.

The pardon granted by President Ouattara to around 800 people including several figures of the former regime of Laurent Gbagbo goes in the direction of a national reconciliation long awaited by Ivorians. The opposition accused the regime of practising “winner’s justice,” by only prosecuting the Gbagbo camp.

Two years before the end of his second and final mandate, this gesture should allay fears of further violence during the presidential elections of 2020.

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