December 06, 2021

Madagascar: Trial of Coup Conspirators Starts

Twenty-one people are standing trial on Monday, 6 December, for an alleged coup in Madagascar.

The conspirators – including five generals, two captains, five non-commissioned officers, four retired personnel and five civilians – were arrested in August this year after an attempt on president Andry Rajoelina’s life in July.

A former adviser to Rajoelina, Paul Rafanoharana, is part of the accused, and has also denied all the charges, which include criminal conspiracy and endangering the security of the state. His lawyer, Arlette Rafanomadio, claims the trial is “unfair.”

She said: “We haven’t had enough time to prepare our defence strategy and access to our clients has been difficult.”

Madagascar remains under lockdown since the coronavirus pandemic started last year; to make matters worse, a famine has hit the country, adding to the list of challenges.

Rajoelina, with military backing, took power in March 2009 after toppling Marc Ravalomanana. The latest coup forms part of the constant political violence that has plagued the east African island nation since gaining independence from France in 1960.

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