December 5, 2018 / 3:01 PM / 13 days ago

French court approves extradition of brother of ex-Burkina Faso president

PARIS (Reuters) - A Paris court of appeal on Wednesday approved an extradition request by Burkina Faso’s government for the brother of ex-Burkinabe president Blaise Compaore, a court spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Police detained Francois Compaore at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris in October 2017 on an international arrest warrant related to the 1998 murder of Norbert Zongo, who published Burkina Faso’s Independent newspaper.

The killing of Zongo, who had been investigating the murder of a driver who worked for Francois Compaore, became a symbol of repression during Blaise Compaore’s 27-year rule, which ended in 2014 at the hands of a popular uprising.

Compaore’s lawyer Pierre-Olivier Sur has said the charges against his client are politically motivated by a Burkinabe government unable to try Blaise Compaore, whom the government of neighboring Ivory Coast refuses to extradite.

Sur and a second lawyer for Compaore said in a statement that they had immediately appealed the decision to the Court of Cassation, which suspends the appeal court’s decision.

Blaise Compaore fled to Ivory Coast during the uprising. He faces an international arrest warrant in connection with the 1987 murder of former president Thomas Sankara.

Activists are pushing President Roch Marc Christian Kabore to aggressively pursue cases of past human rights abuses. Critics say his government has been too slow to move against former government members, some of whom serve in the current administration.

Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry; writing by John Irish; Editing by Leigh Thomas

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