Senior ally of former Ivory Coast president re-arrested in Ghana

Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:40am GMT
 

(Reuters) - Interpol agents in Ghana have rearrested a senior ally of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo amid a deepening dispute that has led to the closure of the border between the two West African neighbours, his lawyer said late on Friday.

Ivorian authorities are seeking the extradition of Justin Kone Katinan, a former budget minister, who was first arrested in Ghana last month during a wave of deadly attacks in Ivory Coast that the government there blamed on pro-Gbagbo exiles.

A court in Ghana's capital Accra granted his release on bail on Tuesday, but Katinan's lawyer said he had been arrested again at his home on Friday afternoon.

"They picked him at about 5 pm (1700 GMT) and sent him to the Interpol wing (of the police)," Patrick Sogbodjor, the lawyer, said, adding that he was worried his client could be summarily extradited to Ivory Coast.

"That should not happen without going to court. It is not the right way, however, it can happen," he told Reuters.

Ivory Coast shut its border with Ghana a week ago, saying that gunmen who attacked police and army installations in the Ivorian border town of Noe had crossed over from Ghanaian territory.

Katinan is being sought on one of around two dozen international arrest warrants issued by the government of President Alassane Ouattara last year following a brief war that killed more than 3,000 people.

The violence erupted after Gbagbo refused to accept Ouattara's internationally recognised victory in an election in late 2010.

While Gbagbo is currently awaiting trial before the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity, most of his senior political and military allies are either in jail in Ivory Coast or in exile, many in Ghana.

Justin Kone Katinan, former budget minister for Laurent Gbagbo's government, speaks during a news conference at his office in Abidjan February 16, 2011. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon
 
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