Ivory Coast Gbabgo not allowed access to lawyers : family


The family of ex-Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo said the ousted leader had still not been allowed to meet with lawyers, a month after his arrest.

Gbagbo’s daughter, Marie-Antoinette Singleton, said the family had appointed a new 11-member legal team in the hope of a breakthrough, including attorneys from six African nations as well as France, Belgium and Britain.

A group of defence attorneys led by high-profile French lawyer Jacques Verges — whose clients have included Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie — was refused entry to Ivory Coast this month due to what authorities said were visa issues, Reuters reports.
“The lawyers approved by the family have still not, as of today, received permission to communicate with the presidential couple and their associates, in spite of numerous requests to the Ivory Coast authorities,” said Singleton.

Gbagbo is being investigated for alleged human rights abuses committed during the recent conflict in Ivory Coast sparked by the disputed November 2010 presidential election.

In the ensuing violence, thousands died and more than a million people were displaced.

Since his arrest in early April, Gbagbo, his wife and aides have been held under house arrest in the north of the country.

The new list of lawyers showed that Verges has been dropped from Gbagbo’s defence team, as well as former French minister of foreign affairs Roland Dumas.