Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo plans to return to the West African nation this month, even as he faces a pending conviction.
The Ivorian government issued two passports, an ordinary one and a diplomatic document, to Gbagbo, who’s been living in Belgium for nearly two years, his lawyer Habiba Toure said.
The issuances come a month after an October 31 presidential election which Gbagbo sought to contest. His candidacy was rejected over a criminal conviction, authorities said at the time.
His Ivorian Popular Front party is organising “his return in accordance with his status as former President of the Republic,” Toure said. Those efforts will likely seek to ensure that
a 20-year prison sentence handed to him last year, after he was found guilty of looting a bank a decade ago, isn’t enforced. He has denied any wrongdoing. The party eagerly awaits Gbagbo’s return “to participate in the reconciliation strongly hoped for by Ivorians,” it said in a separate statement.