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Ivory Coast court jails ex-first lady for 20 years over election violence

A court in Ivory Coast has sentenced the former first lady Simone Gbagbo to 20 years imprisonment. She was found guilty of charges over her role in post-election violence between 2010 and 2011.

Gbagbo, who is also wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity, was accused of crimes including undermining state security, xenophobia and forming armed militia.

The 65-year-old had been on trial alongside 82 other allies of her husband and former leader Laurent Gbagbo since December 2014.

More than 3,000 people died in the ensuing violence after the ex-President refused to accept his defeat to Alassane Ouattara in the December 2010 presidential election. A key issue throughout Gbagbo's trial was whether or not she played a part in directing the death squads.

She and her husband were arrested later in 2011 after troops stormed a bunker in Abidjan, Ivory Coast's economic capital, where the couple had taken refuge.

Prosecutors had previously asked for a lighter 10-year jail term for Gbagbo. Following the court's "unanimous" 20-year-sentence on Tuesday, her lawyer said they would appeal.

On Monday, Gbagbo, who was previously known as Ivory Coast's "Iron Lady," said she did not "know exactly what the concrete actions are that I am being accused of," insisting that her husband had legitimately won the 2010 election.

Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo is now awaiting trial at the ICC for four charges including murder, rape and persecution.

ksb/sb (Reuters, AFP)

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