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Ivory Coast's Gbagbo to Remain in Pre-Trial Detention

Ivorian strongman Laurent Gbagbo, left, and his wife Simone, are seen is the custody of republican forces loyal to election winner Alassane Ouattara at the Golf Hotel in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, April 11, 2011.
The International Criminal Court has rejected an appeal from former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo to be set free while he awaits trial.

The court said Friday that Gbagbo, who faces charges of crimes against humanity, posed a flight risk. His lawyers had argued that he should be freed until his trial because he is in need of medical treatment.

Gbagbo was transferred to the court at The Hague in November 2011 for his alleged role in crimes during the violence that stemmed from the 2010 presidential election.

More than 3,000 people were killed in post-election violence after Gbagbo refused to cede power after losing the vote.

Alleged illegal detentions

In another development, Amnesty International says more than 200 people have been illegally detained in Ivory Coast in recent months, including members of former President Gbagbo's opposition party.

Amnesty researcher Salvatore Sagues said Friday that some detainees had been tortured.

"People were tortured by electricity. Some of them have had molten plastic poured on their bodies," Sagues said. "We saw the marks on their backs. Two of them have been sexually abused."

Sagues said in some cases, family members were not able to locate loved ones who had been detained.

He said the detentions indicate the country's new government is engaging in the same type of human rights abuses that have long plagued the West African nation.

"What is worrying is that for years in Cote D’Ivoire, not only under this administration but also under Laurent Gbagbo’s administration, torture was very regular and done with impunity," Sagues noted.

The international rights group says its findings on Ivory Coast detentions are based on a series of interviews with detainees, their family members and relatives of former President Gbagbo.

The country's current government has blamed Gbagbo loyalists for a string of attacks since the presidential election.