This Wednesday, in the capital Nouakchott, the trial of former Mauritanian president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, accused of abusing his office for more than a decade to accumulate a large fortune, began this Wednesday.
Ould Abdel Aziz, who ruled the desert country of 4.5 million people between 2008 and 2019, was judged by a dozen prominent figures, including two former prime ministers, an ex-minister and a businessman.
On Tuesday afternoon, they were held in custody pending a historic trial on charges of “illicit enrichment”, “abuse of position”, “abuse of influence” and “money laundering”.
The trial began with the summons of the defendant, and when his name was mentioned, Ould Aziz stood up and waved his hand, an AFP correspondent reported.
The defendants were placed in a cage in the courtroom, surrounded by hundreds of police.
The trial is an unprecedented event in the country, situated between the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa, which has been plagued by coups and acts of terrorism but has returned to stability under the reign of 66-year-old Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.
Many Mauritanians interviewed by AFP hoped the trial would teach a lesson to the country, which ranks 140 out of 180 on Transparency International’s Anti-Corruption Index.
The former Mauritanian president has denied the accusations against him since 2019, specifically a few months after leaving office, where he was replaced by his former loyal partner and director of his cabinet, Mohamed Ould Al-Ghazwani.
Ould Abdel Aziz came to power in a bloodless coup in 2008, was elected president in 2009 and re-elected in 2014.
Source: Al Ittihad
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