French lawyers to study legality of Gbagbo arrest


A team of high-profile French lawyers will look into the legality of the detention of Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo and his wife Simone, said their daughter Marie-Antoinette Singleton.

Singleton said she had asked five Paris-based lawyers to defend the Gbagbos and their associates, who she said had been illegally detained by opposition forces.

The lawyers include former foreign minister Roland Dumas, who served under Socialist President Francois Mitterrand in the 1980s, and Jacques Verges, who is known for defending militants and war criminals including Klaus Barbie, dubbed the “Butcher of Lyon” for his time as a top Gestapo official in wartime France, Reuters reports.
“I have asked these lawyers to study the legal conditions, in the international sense, of the arrest of the president and first lady of Ivory Coast and also the international legality of the French army which has acted outside the framework of the UN resolution 1975,” Singleton said in a statement.

Gbagbo was detained by forces loyal to rival presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara earlier this week after a convoy of French tanks closed in on his besieged compound, following a violent four-month standoff over a contested November 28 election.
“The information I am receiving from Abidjan is alarming,” Singleton said. “Contrary to what French media implies, I know from well-informed sources that the detention of my parents and people close to them is an ordeal of violence and humiliation.”