Lawyer for Gbagbo ally criticises Ghana extradition
Lawyer for Charles Ble Goude, a close ally of ex-Ivorian leader Laurent Gbagbo, harshly criticises his client's speedy extradition to his home country following his arrest in Ghana.
ACCRA - A lawyer for Charles Ble Goude, a close ally of ex-Ivorian leader Laurent Gbagbo, on Saturday harshly criticised his client's speedy extradition to his home country following his arrest in Ghana.
Kwame Akuffo told AFP he only learned about the extradition through media reports.
He said he had not had a chance to meet with Ble Goude after his arrest on Thursday and that as far as he knew there had been no court hearing before the extradition, which was announced on Friday.
"What happened was an extraordinary rendition," Akuffo said.
"It was unfair. It was a violation of all our laws and of international laws. I don't see how this happened. I think it's unfortunate and it's to be condemned."
Akuffo, citing a report last year by Human Rights Watch that accused Ivory Coast security forces of torturing suspects, said the extradition put former youth minister Ble Goude in danger.
"We are sending him to a country where it is clear that torture is always part of their interrogatory techniques there," Akuffo said. "Therefore the gentleman's life as we speak now is in complete danger."
Ghana's National Security Coordinator Larry Gbevlo-Lartey confirmed the arrest and extradition of Ble Goude, adding a warrant had been issued, but declining to say who issued it or provide further details.
"There is an arrest warrant for this guy and we have an obligation to deliver him when we arrest him and we have done that," he said.
Called the "street general" for his ability to organise Ivory Coast's youth, Ble Goude was the subject of an Ivorian warrant for his role in his country's post-election crisis that left 3,000 people dead following late 2010 polls.
Gbagbo's refusal to concede defeat in the election sparked the conflict.
According to another of Goude's lawyers, Israeli national Nick Kaufman, Ghanaian police said his client was arrested on a warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
But the ICC told AFP it had no "public link" with Goude, meaning no warrant for his arrest had been made public, and leaving open the possibility that a sealed warrant was used.
The militant leader of the pro-Gbagbo "Young Patriots" has previously been named as a possible target for trial by the ICC, joining his former boss, who has been detained by The Hague-based court since the end of 2011 pending his trial for crimes against humanity.
Thousands of refugees fled the 2011 fighting in Ivory Coast to neighbouring Ghana, a nation of 24 million with one of West Africa's most stable democracies.
Last September, Ivory Coast shut its border with Ghana for over two weeks, accusing fighters loyal to Gbagbo of hiding out in the jungles in the area.
Gbagbo spokesman Justin Kone Katinan also fled to Ghana, and since August has been fighting an attempt by Ghanaian prosecutors to have him extradited to face charges of economic crimes and murder in Ivory Coast.