Former Comoros President Fails to Attend High Treason Trial

Former President of the Union of the Comoros Ahmed Abdallah Sambi PHOTO/Africanews

Moroni, Comoros – Former Comoros President, Ahmed Abdallah Sambi, failed to attend the second day of hearing of his high treason trial on Tuesday.

His lawyer said they are not guaranteed of fair judgement.

Sambi, aged 64, is facing high treason charges related to the sale of Comorian passports to stateless people living in the Gulf nations.

“We left the hearing because we did not have guarantees of a fair trial,” Mahamoudou Ahamada, one of Sambi’s lawyers, said in a press conference.

Another lawyer added that Sambi, who appeared in frail health during the first hearing on Monday, would no longer attend the proceedings. The proceedings end this week.

Sambi’s defense team argued that the president of the security court handling the case should recuse himself having been part of the panel that indicted Sambi.

Their request was denied with the judge saying he had no knowledge on the merit of the case.

A prosecutor in the proceedings said that a verdict was to be announced before Thursday, regardless of whether the former president attended the court or not.

The former president has already spent four years in prison, despite the law limiting pre-trial detention to a maximum of eight months.

During the Monday hearing, Sambi said that he does not want to be tried by that court calling the court ‘illegal’.

He was originally placed under house arrest for disturbing public order.

Three months later he was put under pre-trial detention for embezzlement, corruption and forgery, in a scandal that involved the sale of Comorian passports to stateless people living in the Gulf nations.

He was then charged with high treason.

His lawyers have also accused government officials of seeking to pressure co-defendant Bashar Kiwan, into testifying against Sambi in exchange for a pardon.

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