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Last Updated: Friday, 3 March 2006, 11:00 GMT
French murder suspect to return
The court in Ivory Coast
Police cleared the court before Mr Fofana's hearing on Thursday
Ivory Coast's president has approved the extradition of the suspected leader of a gang accused of seizing, torturing and killing a young Jew in France.

The French defence ministry said a military plane would now fly to Ivory Coast to pick up Youssef Fofana.

France requested his extradition in connection with the killing of Ilan Halimi, 23, in Paris on 13 February.

The case shocked France and triggered demonstrations over anti-Semitism.

Mr Fofana has allegedly said Mr Halimi was abducted because he was a Jew and therefore presumed to be rich.

Mr Halimi was found bound and naked with horrific injuries, three weeks after he was seized.

Murder and kidnap suspect Youssef Fofana (covered) in custody in Ivory Coast
Mr Fofana, pictured with his head covered, was arrested last week
Last Sunday, tens of thousands of people marched through Paris to protest against racism and anti-Semitism.

Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo signed the extradition order on Friday, a day after it had been approved by a court.

It is thought he will be returned to France on Saturday.

A convicted petty criminal, Mr Fofana has allegedly admitted the kidnap, but denied murder.

He is believed to have left France soon after Mr Halimi was found. He was arrested in Abidjan on 23 February.




SEE ALSO:
French protest for murdered Jew
26 Feb 06 |  Europe
Country profile: France
20 Dec 05 |  Country profiles


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