Latin America & Caribbean

Egypt 'to extradite' Frenchman to Dominican Republic over drugs case

Pascal Fauret (left) and Bruno Odos leave the Court House in Santo Domingo after a hearing on May 8, 2014. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Naudin is accused of helping pilots Pascal Fauret (left) and Bruno Odos escape the Dominican Republic

Egypt will extradite a Frenchman to the Dominican Republic for allegedly aiding the escape of two pilots sentenced in a drug case, his wife has said.

Christophe Naudin, a criminologist and aviation security expert, was arrested in Cairo earlier in February.

A judge in the Dominican Republic had issued arrest warrants for him and two others in December.

The pilots were arrested in 2013 preparing to take off in a plane carrying 26 suitcases of cocaine.

They were sentenced to 20 years in prison but during the appeal process fled to the French Antilles and then on to France.

Naudin's wife Michele told French media that she was informed of the Cairo attorney general's decision and that the process would be fast.

The extradition procedure will begin on Sunday, an unnamed Egyptian official told the AFP news agency.

'Air Cocaine' case

Naudin and two other French nationals - Aymeric Chauprade and Pierre Malinowski - are accused of helping to organise the escape from the Dominican Republic of pilots Pascal Fauret and Bruno Odos.

The pilots were convicted in Santo Domingo last August in the so-called "Air Cocaine" drug-trafficking case.

They had been arrested in March 2013 at the resort of Punta Cana on a privately hired jet carrying 680kg (1,500lb) of cocaine.

After their conviction they were freed under the judicial review process and barred from leaving the country.

But they managed to escape, reportedly by boat to the French Antilles and from there by plane to France.

French media said the pilots had previously worked for the French navy and had been helped by former intelligence agents. The French government, however, said it had nothing to do with their escape.

The pilots say they are innocent and have vowed to clear their names.

They were arrested last November in Lyon but legal experts say an extradition is unlikely.

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