Pulchérie Gbalet, president of the organization Alternative citoyenne ivoirienne (ACI), was arrested twice in August and then placed in pre-trial detention, following a trip to Mali, where 49 Ivorian soldiers have been detained since July 10 . She is notably accused of “conspiracy with the agents of a foreign power likely to harm the military and diplomatic situation of Côte d’Ivoire, maneuvers likely to discredit the institutions et to cause serious disturbances to public order”.
By these accusations, the prosecution “intends to silence Pulchérie Gbalet”, estimated the collective of his lawyers in a press release. One of them, Eric Saki, also denounced during a press conference a “conspiracy” and a “flagrant violation of the elementary rules of procedure” concerning the way in which she was arrested and imprisoned on August 22. .
Côte d’Ivoire-Mali: religious, businessmen… They are working for the release of Ivorian soldiers
The lawyer affirmed that Pulchérie Gbalet was the victim of a veritable “ambush” by the police, who had invited her to come and collect her passport and mobile phone, confiscated during a previous arrest in his return from Mali on August 3. “Contrary to all expectations, instead of handing over her effects, it was rather a hearing” to which she was subjected before being taken to prison, he said.
Ivory Coast: what is blamed on the activist Pulchérie Gbalet?
During her stay in Mali, Pulchérie Gbalet had met responsible of NGOs and relatives of the military junta in power since August 2020 in this country, discussing with them the fate of the 49 Ivorian soldiers. Considered as “mercenaries” by Bamako, these soldiers have been charged by the Malian courts, in particular for “attempting to undermine the external security of the State”. Abidjan assures that they were on a mission for the UN and demanded their release.
Several mediations are underway to obtain it, including those of Togo and Malian religious leaders. “Would it be enough to go to Mali and return there for this to constitute an agreement with a foreign power or with the agents of a foreign power? asks the group of lawyers. Pulchérie Gbalet, close to the opposition, had already been imprisoned for eight months between August 2020 and April 2021 for having demonstrated and called for demonstrations against the candidacy of the Head of State, Alassane Ouattara, for a new presidential term. of october 2020.