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Mauritania: Ex-President Abdel Aziz hospitalized

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The former Mauritanian president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, in preventive detention since June in a case of alleged corruption, was admitted Wednesday evening to the military hospital in Nouakchott for "urgent care", announced Thursday one of his lawyers to AFP.

Mr. Aziz, who led Mauritania from 2008 to 2019, "was transferred to this hospital for urgent care (...) We have not been able to meet him so far," one of his lawyers Mohameden Ould Icheddou told AFP, calling on the authorities to evacuate his client abroad for "intensive" care.

"Members of his family have visited him and felt that his situation is worrying, but stable," Ould Icheddou said.

He said he had again asked the judge to release Mr. Aziz on bail after he was hospitalized.

The Nouakchott Court of Appeal had in early November again rejected a previous request for the provisional release of the former Mauritanian leader.

In a statement issued Wednesday evening, his family said they "fear his physical liquidation" by the regime, which has "failed in its attempts to liquidate him politically.

The former head of state was charged in March with corruption, money laundering, illicit enrichment, squandering public property, granting undue advantages and obstructing the course of justice.

He was detained in June in a Nouakchott prison for failing to comply with his judicial supervision and disturbing the peace.

The report of a parliamentary commission of inquiry into alleged corruption and misappropriation of public funds during Aziz's more than 10 years in power was submitted to the courts in August 2020.

The commission looked into a number of issues, including the management of oil revenues, the sale of state-owned property, the liquidation of a state-owned company that supplies the country with food, and the activities of a Chinese fishing company.

The ex-president, who cries "settling of accounts", has always refused to speak to the investigating judge. He believes he is protected by the immunity he enjoys under the Constitution.

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