PARIS (Reuters) – An appeals court in Paris on Monday released the younger brother of former Burkina Faso president Blaise Compaore, a day after he was taken into custody in connection with the murder of a journalist, his lawyer said.
French police detained Francois Compaore at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris on Sunday on an international arrest warrant related to the 1998 murder of Norbert Zongo, who published Burkina Faso’s Independent newspaper.
The killing of Zongo, who had been investigating the murder of a driver who worked for Francois Compaore, became a symbol of repression during Blaise Compaore’s 27-year rule, which ended in 2014 at the hands of a popular uprising.
It was not immediately clear why Francois Compaore had been released or whether he was free to leave the country. His lawyer, Pierre-Olivier Sur, did not respond to follow-up questions sent by text message and the prosecutor’s office handling the case could not be reached for comment.
Sur says the charges against his client are politically motivated by a Burkinabe government unable to try Blaise Compaore, whom the government of neighbouring Ivory Coast refuses to extradite.
Blaise Compaore fled to Ivory Coast during the uprising. He faces an international arrest warrant in connection with the 1987 murder of former president Thomas Sankara.
Activists are pushing President Roch Marc Christian Kabore to aggressively pursue cases of past human rights abuses, and critics say his government has been too slow to move against former regime members, some of whom serve in the current administration.
(Reporting By Simon Carraud and Myriam Rivet; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Peter Graff)