Bulgarian court orders terrorism suspect returned to France

The District Court in the Bulgarian town of Haskovo issued an order on January 20 that French national Fritz-Joly Joachin be handed over to France to face charges of participating in a terrorist group.

Joachin was held by Bulgaria on a European Arrest Warrant after attempting to cross into Turkey in the early hours of January 1.

The arrest warrant had been issued by France for alleged child abduction, and earlier the Haskovo court overruled an extradition application in this connection, saying that the charges were not covered by criminal law in Bulgaria.

Joachin’s wife had alleged that his ultimate destination was Syria, where he intended having their child trained in radical Islam.

While Joachin was in detention in connection with the first warrant, a second arrived from France regarding the terrorism charges.

Joachin, a French national of Haitian descent. has said that he was an acquaintance since childhood of one of the Kouachi brothers, who carried out the January 7 terrorist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in which 12 people were murdered. Joachin denies wrongdoing.

The Haskovo District Court said on January 20 that at the previous hearing, Joachin had consented to be surrended to the French judicial authorities.

This consent, under Bulgarian law, is subject to revocation within three days of having been given. The court said that it found that the consent given by Joachin had not been revoked.

The court’s decision is final and not subject to appeal.



The Sofia Globe staff

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