Two French nationals have been sentenced to ten and twenty years in prison, respectively, for plotting a coup against Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina.
Philippe François and Paul Rafanoharana were charged with endangering state security, criminal association, and plotting to assassinate the president.
Twenty other co-defendants were sentenced to prison as well.
The lawyer for French citizens intends to appeal the sentence.
“It’s not what I expected, it’s an unfair verdict… it’s a political trial,” defense lawyer Solo Radson is quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.
Authorities claim they uncovered the coup plot, dubbed “Apollo 21,” after seizing emails, weapons, and money during a July raid.
Details included plans to “eradicate and neutralize” a number of people, including the president, according to the statement.
Former French army colonel François was sentenced to ten years in prison.
Rafanoharana, a Franco-Malagasy who once advised President Rajoelina, was sentenced to 20 years in prison. His wife received a five-year prison term as well.
Victor Ramahatra, the former Prime Minister of Madagascar, was sentenced to five years in prison with a five-year suspension.
Since its independence from France in 1960, Madagascar has had quite a long history of coups and unrest.