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Congo drags ill former army chief Mokoko back to prison

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Republic of the Congo

General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko, 74, a former presidential candidate in 2016 convicted of undermining state security, was returned to prison on Friday while he was treated for a year in hospital, his lawyer said, protesting the measure.

"The general was reinstated this morning in the Brazzaville prison, while his cell has not been rearranged," Yvon Eric Ibouanga told AFP. "This is not a humane decision, because he was undergoing physiotherapy treatment which is far from being completed," he lamented.

On Friday morning, the users of the military hospital, where the general had been interned for a year, noted a strong presence of elements of the gendarmerie. They took him away and brought him back to the prison.

The government and prison authorities have not yet given any reasons for this reinstatement.

An unsuccessful candidate in the 2016 presidential election, the results of which he never recognized, despite the clear victory of President Denis Sassou Nguesso (78 years old, 37 of them in power), General Mokoko was arrested just after the election, officially for "undermining the internal security of the state" and "illegal possession of weapons of war.

He was then tried and sentenced in 2018 to 20 years of hard labor.

Fell ill, this former chief of staff (1987-1993) was evacuated to Turkey where he received treatment between July and August 2020. Since his return, the officer had remained interned in the military hospital.

Before he was returned to his cell, his lawyers demanded from the authorities a medical report establishing that he had recovered his health and a discharge order from the military hospital. "We did not get all of this," said Ibouanga.


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