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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 August, 2003, 19:04 GMT 20:04 UK
Ratsiraka gets 10 years hard labour
Didier Ratsiraka
Ratsiraka has also been declared unfit for public office
The former President of Madagascar, Didier Ratsiraka, has been sentenced in his absence to 10 years hard labour for corruption after a trial that lasted just a few hours.

The former president was accused of stealing $8m of public money from the central bank last year, shortly before he went into exile.

The court also issued a national arrest warrant for Mr Ratsiraka and declared him unfit for public office.

Mr Ratsiraka's former Finance Minister, Blandin Razafinjato, and the man he appointed as central bank governor, Ferdinand Velomita, were jailed in their absence for six years.

Confrontation

Mr Ratsiraka and his colleagues left Madagascar for France in July 2002, ending a six-month confrontation with the current President, Marc Ravalomanana, after both claimed victory in an election.

Ratsiraka ruled Madagascar - a former French colony - until December 2001 when he lost to Mr Ravalomanana in elections whose outcome Ratsiraka refused to accept.

The resulting stand-off between the two men split the island nation and strained its international relations.




SEE ALSO:
Madagascar leader routs rivals
23 Dec 02  |  Africa
Country profile: Madagascar
27 May 03  |  Country profiles


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