Family of former Comorian president claims he has been “kidnapped” by authorities for five years

The family of former Comoros President Ahmed Abdallah Sambi has denounced Sunday that the former leader has been “kidnapped” by the authorities for five years following his arrest in 2018 for corruption in a passport fraud case.

Sambi has been under house arrest since August 21, 2018 and, according to his daughter, Tisslame Sambi, in solitary confinement without contact with the outside world despite the fact that experts from international bodies such as the African Union or the United Nations have denounced that his detention was arbitrary.

“There is no other way to describe it: he has been detained without time limit, without trial or sentence, but he has been deprived of all his freedoms. It is a kidnapping,” his daughter denounced to Radio France Internationale (RFI).

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“We do not know if my father will ever get out of this indefinite preventive detention, and which is ultimately similar to a life sentence, without even having a prior trial,” she added, before denouncing that the former president’s health, as recognized by the country’s own Judiciary, is very deteriorated.

The passport scandal dates back to 2008, when Comoros initiated a program, with the cooperation of the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, to offer citizenship to stateless people from Gulf countries in exchange for oil investments. However, some of the passports were purchased by Iranians, some of whom were linked to companies under international sanctions.

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The Comorian Parliament estimates that the fraud scheme cost the small archipelago some 960 million euros.

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