Former Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has been on trial for nine months alongside around ten co-defendants for, among other things, illicit enrichment and abuse of power. After the pleadings of the lawyers of the civil party as well as those of the defense, the president and the co-defendants, the time has now come for the final replies. The opportunity for the lawyers of both parties to argue one last time before the Court’s deliberation.
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The hearing has started, this Monday, November 20, with replies from the civil party’s lawyers. Everyone had 30 minutes maximum to intervene with one objective, that of contesting the arguments put forward by the former president’s defense Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz which, according to them, are based more on the interpretation of the articles of the Constitution than on the alleged facts.
Among the contested arguments is that of presidential immunity. “ Functional immunity only covers acts performed in the exercise of one’s function. All the money that was found with Aziz’s relatives were acts that he entrusted, personally, to those close to him. It has nothing to do with the presidential office,” declared Maître Mohamed Salah, lawyer for the civil party.
And to add: “ There are many acts which were carried out within the framework of his functions, but which are criminalized by the law on corruption. Article 93 has become a means of communication. They don’t really want the debate to focus on the money found with the former president “.
Unfounded accusations, according to Sandrella Merhej, lawyer for the Defense Collective who still proclaims the innocence of the former head of state and who denounces an unconstitutional procedure. “The president denied the accusations and he clearly explained the circumstances under which these decisions were made. This trial is a political trial because it is not based on Mauritanian rights but on theories. There is a lack of legal procedures, there is a lack of evidence, it is done simply to exclude Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz from political life. “, declared for her part Sandrella Merhej.
The defense lawyers will in turn respond by the end of the week, before the Court decides whether or not to give the defendants the floor one last time before the final verdict. In this case, the Prosecutor requested 20 years in prison against the former president with confiscation of his property.