Congo Republic Seeks to Prosecute Detained Opposition Leader

The Republic of Congo asked the prosecutor to expedite a case against opposition leader Jean-Marie Mokoko, who’s been under house arrest since he got 14 percent of the vote in presidential elections earlier this year.

“Criminal procedures should not disappear in the desk drawers of justice,” Justice Minister Pierre Mabiala told reporters in the capital, Brazzaville, on Thursday.

Mokoko is suspected of having plotted to overthrow President Denis Sassou Nguesso in 2007, according to the government. Mokoko has denied the charges. A former chief of staff of the armed forces, he served as adviser to Sassou Nguesso until February, when he announced his intention to run for president.

Mokoko is one of five opposition candidates who refused to acknowledge the outcome of the election won by Sassou Nguesso with more than 60 percent of votes. The March vote followed a controversial referendum on the constitution that allowed Sassou Nguesso, who’s been in power since the end of a civil war in 1997, to seek a third consecutive term. The opposition boycotted the referendum but participated in the presidential poll. Sassou Nguesso also led the oil-producing nation from 1979 to 1992.

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