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Ivory Coast opposition member imprisoned for six months

The secretary general of a leading Ivory Coast opposition party was sentenced on Friday to six months of imprisonment. Laurent Akoun of the Ivorian Popular Front, the party of former president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile], was sentenced [AFP report] after being convicted of disturbing public order. He was taken into custody last Sunday following comments he made at Popular Front gathering in which he criticized incumbent president Alassane Ouattara [BBC profile] and alleged that Ouattara wanted to kill Gbagbo [AP report]. Prosecutors had been seeking a five-year prison term for Akoun.

Tensions have been simmering in the Ivory Coast between supporters of Ouattara and Gbagbo since a disputed election took place in 2010. The Ivory Coast's commission of inquiry into the country's 2010 post-election violence [JURIST news archive] submitted a report to Ouattara in early August revealing that hundreds of fighters on both sides of the post-election hostilities committed war crimes [JURIST report] and human rights violations. Following the disputed November 2010 election pro-Ouattara forces clashed with forces loyal to former president Gbagbo, who refused to concede after Ouattara was declared the winner. The commission to investigate the post-election hostilities was established [JURIST report] in July 2011. Gbagbo is currently facing charges [JURIST report] before the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website].

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