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Mauritania: Prosecutor seeks 20 years for former president Aziz

Former president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz addresses the media at the end of an EU-Africa summit in Brussels on Thursday, April 3, 2014.   -  
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Yves Logghe/AP


A Mauritanian prosecutor Tuesday requested (Oct. 24) a 20-year prison sentence for former president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

Aziz has been on trial since January 25 for allegedly abusing his power in order to amass wealth when he ruled the Sahelian nation from 2008 to 2019.

Prosecutor Ahmed Ould Moustapha said "All elements in the hands of the courts proved that a crime has been committed". He called for the former leader's assets to be confiscated.

Aziz, 66, was president of Mauritania, a pivotal country between North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, from 2008 to 2019.

He listened to the prosecutor's closing speech without flinching.

Aziz has maintained his innocence and said the trial is political and should be dismissed.

Earlier this month, his lawyers claimed that the court refused to process the requests of his defence and to call witnesses on Aziz's behalf.

Ten other people, including two former prime ministers as well as former ministers and business men, are on trial with Aziz.

They have been accused of illicitly amassing wealth, abusing their functions and "influence peddling".

The prosecutor's closing arguments lasted about three hours and saw him request sentences of 10 years in prison against the two former prime ministers and two ministers, as well as the confiscation of their property.

For the other defendants, he requested five years in prison.

No indication was given as to the date of the ruling in that case.

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