Spokesman for I.Coast’s Gbagbo re-arrested in Ghana

(AFP) Police in Ghana on Friday re-arrested the spokesman for ex-Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo, Justin Kone Katinan, days after he was granted bail while facing an extradition hearing, his lawyer said.

“By the time I got there, my client had been placed in a cell,” Patrick Sogbodjor, Katinan’s lawyer in Ghana, told AFP, adding that he was eventually told his client was being arrested for a human rights violation.

Sogbodjor said Katinan was being held at the Ghana police criminal investigations unit in Accra by officers from its Interpol unit. He had been asked to proceed to the police station to answer questions but was later arrested, said Sogbodjor.

Police could not immediately be reached for comment.

Katinan is already facing an extradition hearing over charges in his home country for alleged economic crimes while he was budget minister during a violent crisis that followed Gbagbo’s refusal to cede power in November 2010.

He was granted bail on Tuesday, and his conditional release came days after Ivory Coast shut its borders with its neighbour, following renewed concerns that Gbagbo loyalists were using Ghana as a base to launch attacks against President Alassane Ouattara’s government.

Katinan’s lawyers have argued that he cannot be extradited because he holds refugee status in Ghana. A fresh court date for the extradition case has been set for October 11.

Ghana President John Dramani Mahama vowed in an address to the UN this week that his country would not allow its territory to be used as a base to attack neighbouring states.

Mahama noted “the unfolding tensions in Cote d’Ivoire,” and said Ghana “will not harbour any individuals or groups whose intent is to utilize Ghana as a base of operation to undermine the safety and security of another nation.”

A September 21 attack at the Noe border crossing prompted Ivory Coast to shut its land, sea and air borders with Ghana, but flights between the neighbours have since resumed.

There has been a series of recent similar attacks on police and other security targets in Ivory Coast.

Ivory Coast’s five-month post-election conflict claimed 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.

Katinan and thousands of other Gbagbo loyalists fled to Ghana after the fall of his regime in April 2011.

Ghana’s police earlier this month said they had arrested three men in possession of weapons on suspicion they were plotting to overthrow Ouattara’s government.

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