Ghana won't extradite top Gbagbo ally
30 August 2013, 15:40
Accra - A court in Ghana on Friday rejected a request from Ivory Coast to extradite a top ally of former president Laurent Gbagbo, ruling that charges against Justin Kone Katinan had "political motivation".
Katinan fled to Ghana in 2011 as a violent post-electoral conflict shook Ivory Coast and he has served as Gbagbo's spokesman since the ousted strongman's arrest in April that year.
The current government in Ivory Coast has accused Katinan of raiding banks when he served as Gbagbo's budget minister while the regime crumbled.
Ghanaian magistrates court Judge Aboagye Tanor said the charges against Katinan "cannot be devoid of political motivation".
"I will proceed to dismiss the application for the extradition," he ruled, ending a year-long legal battle.
Katinan was first arrested in August 2012 after returning from South Africa to Ghana.
Scores of Gbagbo supporters fled to neighbouring Ghana during the five-month conflict that followed disputed elections in November 2010 and cost around 3,000 lives.
Gbagbo has been transferred to the custody of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, accused of fomenting the wave of violence that swept Ivory Coast after his election defeat.