An elderly Gabriel Mpozagara 77, a former Justice Minister in Burundi has been found guilty of slavery by a French court in Nanterre, in the Paris suburbs.
Mpozagara and his wife Candice were on Monday jointly handed a suspended two-year prison sentence after court found them guilty of enslaving for yen years Sindayigaya Methode a fellow Burundian.
In the ruling, the Nanterre court said the couple subjected their victim to a hurtful 10 years of forced labour and to conditions depriving him of human dignity. These two elements constitute the trafficking of human being.
In addition to the two-year suspended sentence, they were sentenced to pay 70,000 euros in damages to Sindayigaya Method.
Sindayigaya, 39, a former peasant farmer from Burundi, was allegedly forced to work 19 hours a day for a decade and banned from eating the dishes he cooked for his employers, who gave him only rice.
The couples lawyer, Dominique Naveau-Duschene vowed to appeal saying “we will do what it takes to get the truth out”.
“I have been on this file for twenty years; So I had other cases with Mr. Mpozagara where they were relaxed, things were restored, well it will be the same thing. I know these people, I know especially my client, I know he is a man of integrity. ”
The couple has also been fined more than 52,000 euros for the Urssaf (Union for the recovery of social security contributions and family allowances).
Candide Mpozagara 73, is granddaughter of Burundi’s last king Ntare V, who was assassinated in 1972.