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France Pressing Bolivia for Extradition of Barbie

The French government announced yesterday that it will continue to “do everything within its means” to obtain the extradition of Klaus Barbie, the former Gestapo commander of Lyons, from Bolivia. Deputy Foreign Minister Jean de Lipkowsky told parliament “the extradition of Barbie is a national cause. I want this to be known in France and abroad.”

He said the French government has contacted the Bolivian authorities “at the highest possible level” and has obtained the assurance that Bolivia is prepared to help in bringing Barbie to justice. The Minister said Barbie’s extradition might be decided by Bolivia’s Supreme Court before the end of the month.

Barbie is charged with the murder of former French national resistance leader Jean Moulin and with the deportation to death camps of thousands of Jewish women and children. Sentenced to death in absentia by a French court after the war, he found asylum in South America and became a Bolivian citizen. At the time he was tracked down he was using the alias of Klaus Alimann.

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