Ghana charges Justin Kone Katinan Gbagbo’s spokeman with murder

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Ghanaian authorities charged Ivory Coast’s ex-leader Laurent Gbagbo spokeman with murder following a warrant of arrest from his home country on Monday, days after he was granted bail while awaiting an extradition hearing.

Justin Kone Katinan’s was charged On Monday; with three added up conspiracy including the murder of two men in Abidjan in March last year. He was granted bail at an extradition hearing on September 25 as he is wanted in the Ivory Coast on charges for economic crimes. But he was re-arrested on Friday on the murder charges, which stemmed from a fresh warrant issued by Ivorian authorities the same day he was granted bail. Katinan is already facing an extradition hearing over charges in his home country suspected for economic crimes while he was the budget minister following a violent crisis that pursued Gbagbo’s denial to give up power in November 2010.

Police prosecutor, deputy superintendent Abraham Aanor, told the court that the two accused had on March 25 last year murdered Kamagate Sedou, 83, a welder, and on 29 March, Diabate Drissa, 37, a trader in Port Bouet district of Abidjan. Katinan and thousands of other loyalists to Gbagbo fled to Ghana after the fall of his regime in April 2011. According to Aanor on September 25 2012, the Ivorian authorities issued a new arrest warrant in respect of the accused and informed the Ghanaian authorities that the accused Katinan has been seen in Ghana and therefore requesting their assistance to arrest him.

He added by the court that Ghanian authorities needed more time to investigate the case and requested that Katinan should be held without bail. The further hearing in the murder case has been adjourned by the ruling judge, Alibaba Abature, till October 16. A fresh court date for the extradition case has been set for 11 October and despite Katinan’s lawyer’s objection, the judge ordered him remanded in police custody till the date of the next hearing.

Sources say that in order for a court to remand you, you must have been charged with an offence in Ghana which will then give Ghana the basis to hold you on remand. Katinan’s lawyers have argued that he cannot be extradited because he holds refugee status in Ghana. Ivory Coast’s five-month post-election conflict took away some 3 000 lives and Gbagbo himself is currently detained in The Hague, where he faces trial by the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity.

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