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ICC grants prosecution request to keep Ivorian ex-leader Gbagbo in custody

Source: AFP

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Ivory Coast ex-president Laurent Gbagbo will stay behind bars at least until a fresh appeal hearing on February 1, despite his acquittal this week by the International Criminal Court, the tribunal said Friday.

Judges cleared 73-year-old Gbagbo on Tuesday on charges of crimes against humanity relating to a wave of violence after disputed elections in 2010, and ordered his immediate release.

The crisis claimed some 3,000 lives.

But prosecutors at the Hague-based court challenged the release of Gbagbo, who has already spent seven years in jail, saying he should be detained while they make a broader appeal over his acquittal.

“The detention of Mr Laurent Gbagbo… shall be maintained pending the consideration of the present appeal” against his release, the ICC’s appeals judges said in a statement.

They will hold a fresh hearing on February 1 “in order to hear further submissions on the appeal.”

Judges made the same order for Gbagbo’s co-defendant and right-hand man Charles Ble Goude.

Prosecutors had argued that there was a “concrete” risk the Ivorian pair fail to return to the ICC if a subsequent appeal overturned Tuesday’s decision to acquit them.

Gbagbo’s daughter has said he intended to return to the Ivory Coast if released.

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