Brother of ex-Burkina leader freed after airport arrest

 30 Oct 2017 - 17:45

Brother of ex-Burkina leader freed after airport arrest
In this photograph taken on December 20, 2012, Francois Compaore, brother of the deposed Burkinabe president Blaise Compaore, looks on during a summit in Ouagadougou. AFP / Ahmed OUOBA


Paris: The brother of Burkina Faso's ousted president was released from custody in Paris on Monday pending a request for his extradition over the 1998 killing of an investigative journalist, his lawyer said.

Police acting under an international arrest warrant filed by Burkina Faso arrested Francois Compaore, 63, at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport on Sunday after he arrived on a commercial flight from Ivory Coast.

Compaore's attorney, Pierre-Olivier Sur, said his client, who is resident in France with his family, had been released but told to report to police pending a request for extradition, and to advise them if he planned to travel abroad.

"I think that Burkina Faso is distorting judicial procedures in order to stigmatise a man whose guilt is to be called Compaore," Sur said.

Compaore is one of the most unpopular figures in the former regime, where his role -- technically as economic advisor to his older brother Blaise Compaore -- gave him the nickname of "the little president."

Compaore was ousted in a popular revolt in October 2014 after he tried to change the constitution to extend his 27-year grip on power. The brothers fled to Ivory Coast where they obtained Ivorian nationality. 

Francois Compaore is wanted in Burkina Faso over the killing of journalist Norbert Zongo and three companions whose charred bodies were found in a burnt-out car in the south of the country in December 1998.

Zongo's family have long accused Francois Compaore of having had a hand in the killings, which triggered mass protests in Burkina Faso and drew international condemnation. 

Zongo, the crusading editor of L'Independant newspaper, had written several hard-hitting articles about the misrule of the Compaore regime.

At the time of his death he was looking into the murder of Francois Compaore's chauffeur.

The family's lawer, Benewende Sankara, says Francois Compaore is being sought for "incitement to multiple murder."