Authorities stated Friday that exiled former Central African Republic president Francois Bozize, who became a rebel commander, was convicted in absentia to life in prison for conspiracy and rebellion.
Bozize, 76, remained in exile in Chad until March, when he fled to Guinea Bissau, and now leads the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), a coalition of rebel factions created in December 2020.
The ex-president, who took power in the Central African Republic in 2003 but was deposed a decade later, was sentenced on Thursday, according to a decision handed to AFP by the justice ministry.
Two of Bozize’s sons and 20 other co-accused, including rebel leaders, were sentenced in absentia as well.
According to the decision of an appeals court in the capital Bangui, they were also convicted of damaging the state’s internal security and “murders.”
The judgment provided no information on the time period or the crimes.
Since 2013, when Muslim-dominated armed groups removed Bozize, CAR, one of the world’s poorest countries, has been torn apart by civil war.
To reclaim control, Bozize formed armed groups called as the anti-Balakas, which were mostly Christian.
The conflict has lessened in intensity since 2018, yet the country still experiences outbreaks of violence and remains impoverished.