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Monday, 26 August, 2002, 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK
Death sentence for ex-CAR leader
President Patasse
President Patasse survived the coup attempt
Former military ruler General Andre Kolingba has been sentenced to death in his absence for his role in a failed 2001 coup in the Central African Republic.

A criminal court in the capital, Bangui, delivered some 600 sentences on Monday, all to people being tried in absentia.

General Kolingba ruled the central African nation from 1981 to 1993 before losing elections to current President Ange-Felix Patasse.

He fled the country after a failed coup attempt in May last year and his current whereabouts are not known.

Sentences

Twenty senior army officers also received death sentences. One report said three of those sentenced were Kolingba's sons.

General Andre Kolingba
Kolingba: Current whereabouts unknown
People convicted of funding the coup, aimed at ousting President Patasse, were sentenced to 20 years in prison.

More than 300 soldiers who joined the coup attempt were given 10 years, with most of those convicted belonging to General Kolingba's Yakoma ethnic group. P> Since 1996, Patasse has faced several mutinies launched by disgruntled soldiers complaining of low pay.

The president of the criminal court said that the authorities intended to do all they could to repatriate those convicted.

Central African Republic

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04 Feb 02 | Africa
05 Nov 01 | Africa
09 Nov 01 | Country profiles
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