Simone Gbagbo, the former Ivory Coast First Lady, has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for, among others, undermining state security, disturbing public order and organising armed gangs during the country’s 2010-2011 post-election violence.
Over 3 000 people are believed to have been killed by the violence in which the ‘Iron Lady’ is believed to have played a pivotal role.
Simone is the wife of Laurent Gbagbo, the former head of state, who is currently awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court for severe human rights violations.
Many observers in the commercial capital Abidjan appear to be surprised by the severity of the sentence, which is double than the one recommended by the prosecutor.
Michel Gbagbo, the son of the former president issued from his first marriage, was also sentenced to five years in jail for the same crimes.
Ivory Coast, which produces over 40% of the world’s cocoa, used to be a prosperous nation and an economic force on the African continent.
But many critics believe that 11 years of Gbagbo couple’s brutal and corrupt reign have brought the country down, forcing millions of Ivorians to leave and seek food, freedom and security elsewhere.