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Ivory Coast president approves extradition of Paris race murder suspect

[JURIST] Ivory Coast President Lauren Gbagbo [BBC profile] has signed an extradition order authorizing Youssef Fofana to be transferred to France where he is wanted in connection with the kidnapping, torture and killing of a Jewish man outside Paris. Ivory Coast Justice Minister Mamadou Kone said Friday that Gbagbo signed the document after a court approved the extradition [AP report] Thursday. Ilan Halimi was kidnapped at the end of January by a gang said to be led by Fofana. His body was found three weeks later covered in burn marks near a train station in suburban Paris. French police say that Halimi was targeted because he was Jewish, and the murder has sparked protests across Paris [BBC report] with participants denouncing racism and anti-Semitism.

Seventeen people have been charged in France and another suspect has been arrested in Belgium. Fofana has admitted in a television interview to the kidnapping, but denied killing Halimi and also said that anti-Semitism was not a motivation. Reuters has more. From France, Le Figaro has local coverage.

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