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Mauritania: arrest of Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz

The former president of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, was arrested on Tuesday around 20 p.m., after long weeks of house arrest, searches and accusations.

Yesterday, during the evening, police came to the home of Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. They brought the former president before a judge from the anti-corruption pole. Where the said judge announced to Abdel Aziz that he will be placed in detention.

Since the beginning of 2020, and the announcement of the former president of his return to political life, a parliamentary committee has been created. The role of the latter was to verify the management of the State during the two terms of Abdel Aziz. In July 2020, the commission presented an 800-page report. Accusing Abdel Aziz of embezzlement, money laundering and other alleged abuses. Numerous searches have been ordered on the home of the former president and his relatives. However, no evidence was found, nor was his bank accounts audited.

According to Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the work of the commission was intended to "make him pay for wanting to exist as a politician". However, he was charged in March 2021 and placed under house arrest on May 11. Many lawyers have mobilized to defend him. In this case Mohameden Ould Ichidou, one of the main opponents of Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz during his decade in power.

Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, victim of a plot?

According to Ould Ichidou, the decision to detain the former president “violates all the laws of criminal procedure”. Indeed, the financial crimes attributed to the former president had to be proven by the commission accusing him. However, besides assumptions, no evidence appears on the report of last July. We read that 97 million of dollars were allegedly embezzled by Abdel Aziz and his relatives.

However, the audit of bank accounts came to nothing. The search of Abdel Aziz's home, which was supposed to demonstrate his possession of large sums of cash, gold bars and artifacts, was also inconclusive. The former president then declared: "We never found 65 kilos of gold at home, let alone 100 billion FCFA".

However, justice is determined to advance the criminal proceedings against Abdel Aziz. The former president had ensured the victory of his dolphin and current president Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, before leaving power. However, the friendship of the two men crumbled when Abdel Aziz joined the opposition Ribat national party.

The former president had also ceded power under international pressure. Indeed, France had led a diplomatic charge against Abdel Aziz when he refused to contribute troops to Sevral in 2014. The UN was quick to multiply reports on the situation of the Fulani and Wolof populations, accusing the state to authorize the mistreatment of minorities. Abdel Aziz therefore withdrew, allowing Ould Ghazouani to become president. However, Ould Ghazouani directly turned his back on his historical companion. Taking over the leadership of the party, and ordering the formation of the July 2020 commission. Has Mauritania become a country of law in recent months, or is Abdel Aziz really the victim of a political plot?

Read: Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, victim or culprit?

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