Ex-French President Sarkozy: Libya accusations are making my life ‘hell’

In this file photo taken on July 30, 2010, Nicolas Sarkozy gives a speech in Grenoble. (AFP)
Updated 22 March 2018
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Ex-French President Sarkozy: Libya accusations are making my life ‘hell’

PARIS: French ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy told magistrates who put him under formal investigation on Wednesday that accusations that he got illicit Libyan funding for his 2007 election campaign were lies that were making his life "hell", Le Figaro newspaper said.
The newspaper published a lengthy account of what it said was a declaration by Sarkozy, in power from 2007 until 2012, made to investigators who told him after two days in custody he was formally suspected of passive corruption and other offences.
"This calumny has made my life a living hell since March 11, 2011," the newspaper quoted the 63-year-old as having told the investigators. Prosecutors are looking into allegations that Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign was aided by millions of euros in money from late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
According to Le Figaro, Sarkozy said he was the victim of a destabilisation campaign that began in March 2011, based on accusations from Tripoli and a Franco-Lebanese businessman who is also at the centre of a judicial inquiry that began in 2013 but snowballed this week when Sarkozy was held for questioning.


Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani announces he will stand for re-election

Updated 1 sec ago
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Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani announces he will stand for re-election

  • Afghan President Ashraf Ghani confirmed on Sunday that he will run for office during next year’s presidential polls
  • Ghani also said he had ordered launch of an investigation of images and videos showing government troops had tortured and maltreated body guards

KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani confirmed on Sunday that he will run for office during next year’s presidential polls, insisting that it was essential to hold the elections despite rising violence in the country.
“My allies are the nation of Afghanistan; three major strata of (Afghan society): Young people, women and the poor. My goal has not been power, but to serve, and my goal (will continue to be) to serve,” he told a news conference in Kabul.
Ghani, who has been leading the National Unity Government (NUG) in a power-sharing deal with his arch political rival, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, said making alliances was normal and he will go for it.
He did not reveal whether he intended to keep the position of Chief Executive given to Abdullah in a deal brokered by the US following the fraudulent elections of 2014.
He added that despite security challenges and rising violence, holding polls was essential for Afghanistan, locked in decades of conflict.
The president rejected speculation that there were plans to convene a grand traditional assembly, instead of elections, due to those challenges.
He said that there had been discussions about the return of first vice president, General Abdul Rashid Dostum, who has been exiled in Turkey for over a year amid allegations of ordering his body guards to arrest and sexually assault a political rival.
Ghani also said he had ordered launch of an investigation of images and videos showing government troops had tortured and maltreated body guards of a commander for Dostum, who the government arrested early this month.
The footage showed government commando forces kicking handcuffed guards of the commander, one standing on the head of one detainee and another on couple of others’ stomachs. One was shown turning over body of a man who had just been shot dead.
The images sparked anger and criticism among some who accuse Ghani’s government of violating the rule of law.
“For me as the commander in-chief of the armed forces, any behavior of security and defense forces which are in contradiction with the enforced principles and laws, is by no means acceptable,” Ghani said.
The arrest of the commander loyal to Dostum has angered ethnic Uzbeks, who have closed down three border crossings and various elections offices in the north of the country during nearly two weeks of protests.
Ghani did not say if his government was doing any thing to reopen the border crossings. Closures have severely hampered flow of imports and exports in the past few days. Nor did he mention when election offices would reopen.
The protests, ordered by Dostum, show the amount of support he has among his fellow ethnic Uzbeks. Dostum has said he will return to Afghanistan after the release of his commander, who has been detained by Kabul.