Mon. Oct 18th, 2021

Francois Compaore is wanted in his home country in connection with the assassination of investigative journalist Norbert Zongo in 1998.

The Burkinabe government welcomes France’s decision to extradite Francois Compaore, the brother of the former president of Burkina Faso, to his country where he is wanted in connection with the assassination of prominent investigative journalist Norbert Zongo more than 20 years ago .

The Council of State, France’s highest court for public administration, has rejected an appeal by Compaore’s lawyers against a previous ruling for his extradition, saying there are no constitutional or other grounds to reverse the decision.

Burkina Faso saw the verdict on Friday as a “victory”.

“We are convinced of the validity of our claim,” said Ousseni Tamboura, communications minister and government spokesman.

Francois Compaore is the younger brother of Blaise Compaore, who was forced to resign in 2014 due to mass demonstrations in an attempt to extend his 27-year rule, which began with a coup. The former president has since been in exile in the neighboring Ivory Coast.

The charred body of Zongo, director of the weekly L’Independant, was found on December 13, 1998, along with three murdered colleagues in a burnt-out car on a road south of Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou.

The killings caused massive protests in Burkina Faso and provoked international condemnation.

Zongo is investigating the death of David Ouedraogo, Francois Compaore’s manager.

Initially, only one suspect, President Marcel Kafando, was charged with murder and later acquitted.

Burkina Faso closed the investigation after freeing the guard, but the court reopened the case after Blaise Compaore was fired.

An independent inquiry ordered by the subsequent government concluded that the assassination was related to the professional activities of the journalist who had a record of discovering irregularities in the Compaore government.

Six suspects, all members of the presidential guard, were identified by the independent investigators and three were charged.

Burkina Faso’s court suspects that Francois Compaore may have ordered the victim, although he has not yet been charged with any crime.

French police arrested Compaore at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris in October 2017 following an international arrest warrant issued by his country’s government. In 2020, Burkina Faso entered into an agreement with France for its extradition.

Advocates of Compaore said on Friday that their client was ready to face the court of his country “with dignity, honor and responsibility”.

But they add in a statement sent to the AFP news agency that he believes the extradition was politically motivated, and that the council did not take into account the risk of torture, inhuman treatment and an unfair trial awaiting him. do not have.

“He would definitely be exposed to such risks if he was handed over to Burkina Faso,” they said.

Compaore has appealed to the European Court of Human Rights in hopes of stopping the extradition, they said.

The court gave France until August 3 to ensure Compaore is not tortured at home.

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