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Mauritania: Judiciary rejects provisional release of former president

Former Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz delivers a speech during the launching of the Old Cities Festival, in Oualata, on November 20, 2018 [THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images]
Former Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz delivers a speech during the launching of the Old Cities Festival, in Oualata, on November 20, 2018 [THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images]

The defence team of former Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz announced on Friday that the judiciary had denied a request for the provisional release of the president. He was detained on remand relating to "financial corruption" files during his presidency.

The team indicated in a statement that: "The order (rendered by the investigating judge in charge) to refuse the provisional release of the former president did not discuss the lack of justification for pre-trial detention that we raised on behalf of our client."

The team asserted that the former president is: "A victim of a systematic political targeting that did not respect his constitutional immunity."

The Mauritanian Prosecution, in a statement issued last September, stated: "Extraction the file of the former president from the judicial authority to the media and the political authority will fail. It will not blur the extensive evidence in the file."

On 23 June, the judge charged with the economic crimes referred the former president to detention to continue investigations with him after being under house arrest since April.

READ: Official: Morocco extradites 12 smuggling suspects to Algeria

On 28 August, the High Court in Mauritania upheld the decision of the investigating judge to imprison the former president, pending the completion of investigations for charges of financial corruption during his presidency.

On 11 March, the Public Prosecution charged Aziz, along with 12 of his senior officials, with money laundering and granting unjustified privileges in government deals, which the defendants denied.

In June 2019, during the presidential elections, Aziz supported current President Mohamed Ould Cheikh El-Ghazouani, with whom he took part in the 2008 coup. El-Ghazouani commenced a five-year presidential term in August of the same year.

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