Judge Who Granted Hearing on Gabon President’s Fitness Suspended

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President Ali Bongo

Gabon suspended an appeal court judge who scheduled a hearing on a petition that President Ali Bongo should undergo medical tests to determine whether he’s fit to rule.

Judge Paulette Ayo Mba has been suspended until Sept. 30 without pay for “refusing to respect a decision” issued July 26 by a head judge, the Ministry of Justice said in a statement, without elaborating further on the charge. Earlier this month, Mba granted the hearing at the request of opposition supporters, whose bid for an independent medical exam of Bongo’s physical and mental health was dismissed by a trial court in May.

Bongo, 60, returned to Gabon in March after spending more than five months abroad to recover from a stroke he suffered when attending a conference in Saudi Arabia. He has ruled OPEC’s second-smallest oil producer since winning elections in 2009 that were held months after his father, Omar Bongo, died in office.

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