In its ruling issued on Thursday, Gabon's Special Military Court sentenced Lieutenant Ondo Obiang Kelly and two members of the Republican Guard to 15 years in prison.
The knife has been brandished.
If the Special Military Court had followed the indictment of the Public Prosecutor, the defendants would have ended their final days in prison.
The representative of the public prosecutor had requested “life imprisonment and a fine of 100 million CFA francs” for undermining the national security, criminal association and theft.
The military court reduced the sentence of the three officers, but pronounced their “removal from the army” and fined them 31 million CFA francs.
At the end of the hearing, the defendants’ lawyers vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Another element of the Republican Guard, whose involvement in the attempted putsch could not be proven, was acquitted.
The Special Military Court also dropped charges against five gendarmes who, on January 7, 2019, were guarding the premises of the national radio and television station.
On that day, Lieutenant Ondo Obiang Kelly had addressed his compatriots to justify the overthrow of Ali Bongo’s regime in order to “restore democracy.”
At the time of the abortive coup, the Gabonese president was convalescing in Morocco following a stroke.
In the end, the coup attempt was abortive, with the death of two of its plotters.
In Gabon, a small oil-rich country in Central Africa, one family has ruled unchallenged for more than 50 years.
El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba was in power until his death on June 8, 2009.
His son, Ali Bongo, succeeded him after a four-month transition period.