West African Bar says it's wrong to deny Gbagbo lawyers
The West Africa Bar Association (WABA) has raised concern about Alassane Ouattara government’s move to begin investigating former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo and his wife in the absence of their lawyers.
The sub-regional Bar is cautioning the new Ivorian authorities against a tit-for-tat policy and urging them to respect the tenants of democracy.
State Prosecutor Simlice Kouame Koffi said the government has started questioning Gbagbo and his wife, Simone for alleged crimes committed.
Ex-President Gbagbo, who is being held in the New Forces rebel northern stronghold of Korhogo, while his wife is being detained in the neigbouring norwestern town of Odienne, have so far not had access to their lawyers during initial probe.
The couple’s French Lawyers were last Friday turned back at Abidjan airport, after they flew in to help defend their clients. Officials told them they did not have valid visas.
State Prosecutor Koffi has said while the presence of lawyers is desirable, it’s not obligatory.
But is this practice by the new Ouattara regime in line with the due process of law?
This is the question WADR's Frank Sainworla put to the Secretary General of WABA, Mr. Olawole Fapohunda.Tweet