The NEWS (Monrovia)

31 December 2012

Liberia Seeks Extradition of 'Mercenaries'

The Liberian government is considering a decision to extradite seven alleged mercenaries to Ivory Coast.

The Justice Ministry officials said government is seeking the blessing of a court to sign off on extraditing of seven alleged mercenaries to Ivory Coast.

The move followed criticism by a number of institutions including the UN panel of experts of how Liberia has responded to the threat posed by armed groups along its border with La Cote d' Ivoire.

Human rights groups say mercenaries backing former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo have allegedly used the Liberian side of the border to launch deadly attacks inside Ivory Coast.

Deputy Justice Minister Benedict Sannoh told the Associated Press news agency that the government of Ivory Coast made the request to have the men extradited.

The Ivorian mercenaries are among 20 Liberians charged with "mercenarism" for their alleged involvement in cross-border raids into Ivory Coast.

However, lawyers defending the mercenaries said the government is proceeding with the matter outside of due process.

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