Former Ivorian prime minister Guillaume Soro has been given 20 years jail term for embezzlement.
Guillaume Soro who is vying to be president of Ivory Coast was convicted in absentia on Tuesday of embezzlement.
The former rebel leader was sentenced to 20 years in prison, a verdict that was announced after a trial that lasted only a few hours.
Soro’s lawyers did boycott the trial denouncing the allegations against him. They say the trial is aimed at preventing Soro from contesting in the October presidential election.
He has also been fined $7.4m and now barred from civic duties for five years while his property has been confiscated by the court.
Mr. Soro is currently in exile in Europe after he fled the country. An arrest warrant was issued for him at the time he attempted returning to the country.
He was forced to abort a planned return to Ivory Coast in December 2019 by diverting his flight to Ghana.
Soro at the time was accused of amassing weapons and plotting a coup.
The former national assembly president, was also under investigation for embezzlement of public funds and money laundering for amounts up to 1.5 billion CFA francs (2.2 million euros).
He led the rebels who failed to oust then-president Laurent Gbagbo in 2002.
Soro’s forces helped to install President Alassane Ouattara during a civil war that followed the 2010 election. Gbagbo and Ouattara both claimed victory.
Soro served for several years as speaker of the National Assembly but has since fallen out with Ouattara.
He retains the support of many former rebel commanders who are now serving in the army.