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South Africa prosecutors investigating former Madagascar president

South African prosecutors told reporters on Monday that they are investigating the former president of Madagascar for possible crimes against humanity. A spokesperson for the office of the prosecutor said that recent information [AFP report] about former president Marc Ravalomanana [BBC profile] had led their office to believe an investigation is necessary. A spokeswoman for Ravalomanana said that she believed the allegations were politically motivated to prevent him from proceeding with talks with the interim Madagascar president Andry Rajoelina [BBC profile]. She noted that the prosecutor's revelation came in the same week that Ravalomanana was scheduled to meet with Rajoelina. Ravalomanana has been unable to return to Madagascar since he was sentenced to death in absentia in relation to 30 protesters killed by his presidential guard in 2010. He was ousted from office by Rajoelina earlier that year. In April, Madagascar passed a law granting amnesty [JURIST report] to those who committed crimes during the political unrest in the country over the last three years, but excluded human rights violations for which Ravalomanana has been convicted.

Political unrest has plagued Madagascar for the last 3 years [Reuters timeline] after Ravalomanana stepped down as president. Last month the trial of a former judge charged with plotting a coup [JURIST report] began. In November 2010 there was an attempted coup during a constitutional referendum [JURIST reports]. Despite holding power since 2009 [JURIST report], much of the international community has refused to recognize Rajoelina's regime.

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