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I. Coast jails Gbagbo ally for 'violating state security'

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Laurent Akoun (pictured), ally of former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo, received a six-month jail sentence on Friday. He was arrested after speaking against the Alassane Ouattara government, which emerged after a violent power struggle last year.


AFP - A top leader of former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo's party was sentenced to six months in jail on Friday on charges of disturbing public order.

Laurent Akoun, the number two in the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), had been arrested on Sunday, the third key Gbagbo ally to be detained in recent days, after speaking out against President Alassane Ouattara's government.

His sentence was announced after a four-hour hearing during which the prosecutor had asked for a jail term of five years. His defence team has announced that it will appeal.

Another close Gbagbo official, former minister Alphonse Douati, was arrested on August 18 and later charged with "violating state security".

Gbagbo's spokesman Kone Katinan Justin was arrested on August 24 in Ghana, where he fled after the collapse of Gbagbo's regime.

The arrests followed a series of attacks on an army base, a prison and police stations near the economic capital Abidjan, as well as on army posts and a border crossing with Liberia.

The government has blamed the attacks, which have claimed a dozen lives, on Gbagbo supporters.

The attacks have brought tensions in Ivory Coast to a level not seen since the December 2010-April 2011 crisis sparked by Gbagbo's refusal to concede defeat in the presidential election.

Gbagbo was finally captured on April 11, 2011, and since November has been in custody at The Hague awaiting trial by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity.


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