MORONI-(MaraviPost)-Comoros State Security Court has sentenced the county’s ex-president Ahmed Abdallah Sambi to a life sentence for high treason on Monday, November 28.
The sentence comes after a trial that proceeded in absentia his after he refused to appear in court over the past weeks.
The 64-year old, an arch rival of President Azali Assoumani, was sentenced by a special judicial body whose rulings cannot be appealed, AFP reported.
According to the public prosecutor Ali Mohamed Djounaid, Sambi betrayed the mission entrusted to him by the Comorians hence the need for the life sentence.
The former president was accused of embezzling millions of dollars under the bidoon scheme — an Arab minority numbering in the tens of thousands who cannot obtain citizenship.
He was convicted of selling passports to stateless people living in the Gulf which was estimated to have cost more than $1.8 billion, more than the country’s GDP.
However, his French lawyer Jean-Gilles Halimi said there was no tangible evidence of missing money or bank accounts that was put forward to suggest a crime.
Sambi had already spent four years behind bars before he faced trial, far exceeding the maximum eight months. He was originally placed under house arrest for disturbing public order.
The former president led the small Indian Ocean archipelago between 2006 and 2011, pushed through a law in 2008 allowing the sale of passports for high fees.