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Allegation of torture in army trial

Defence witnesses at the trial of two Ivorian army generals charged with threatening state security told a military court on Friday they were tortured into implicating the accused, local media reported.

The witnesses, one of whom headed the close security detail for one of the accused, told the court they were forced to say that generals Lansana Palenfo and Abdoulaye Coulibaly plotted to kill former military ruler General Robert Guei. Palenfo and Coulibaly were leading members of Guei’s junta.

The alleged attempt to kill Guei occurred on 17 September 2000 when soldiers, including some of Guei’s bodyguards, allegedly attacked his home. Some of the alleged assailants were arrested and tortured to death, the witnesses said.

About 40 soldiers are charged in the case being heard by a five-member military tribunal in Abidjan. The trial, which began on 21 February, has been postponed twice due to technicalities.

Coulibaly and Palenfo, imprisoned since 8 November, pleaded “not guilty” at the start of their testimonies on Friday, AFP reported.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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