March 7, 2020

Burkina Faso: Extradition order is major step toward trial for Norbert Zongo’s murder

François Compaoré @AFP
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) welcome’s the French government’s decision to extradite François Compaoré, former Burkinabe President Blaise Compaoré’s younger brother, back to Burkina Faso, where the authorities regard him as the lead suspect in investigative journalist Norbert Zongo’s murder in 1998.


More than 20 years after the murder of Norbert Zongo, who edited the Ouagadougou-based weekly  L'Indépendant, this extradition continues to be a priority and a pre-condition for putting the murder’s presumed masterminds on trial.


The order to extradite François Compaoré back to Burkina Faso, where the older Compaoré brother was ousted as president in 2014, was signed by French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on 3 March.


The shot and burned bodies of Zongo and three companions were found inside their burned car at a roadside in Sapouy, 100 km south of Ouagadougou, on 13 December 1998. At the time of his death, Zongo had been investigating the murder of President Compaoré’s driver, David Ouédraogo, who was tortured to death by members of the presidential guard.


“We welcome this decision, which is a major step forward and brings us closer to a trial in Burkina Faso,” said Assane Diagne, the director of RSF’s West Africa office. “The execution of the extradition order, which can still be appealed, is a priority. More than 20 years after this journalist’s murder, his family and colleagues are still waiting for justice to be rendered. Norbert Zongo must not continue to be the symbol of impunity for murders of journalists.”


Burkina Faso is ranked 36th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.