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First visit to ousted former Ivorian president

VISIT: Laurent Gbagbo

IVORY COAST’S incarcerated former president Laurent Gbagbo has received a visit from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

In a statement, the independent aid agency said that its standard terms of holding private interviews with inmates to evaluate their treatment and detention conditions had been met.

"This was the first visit to Gbagbo, I can't give more details," ICRC spokesman Marcal Izard told Reuters.

The West African country was thrown into violent turmoil following a presidential election in November when Gbagbo refused to accept his defeat by Alassane Ouattara and used a medley of soldiers, youth militias and mercenaries to crush dissent.

According to the news agency, Gbagbo is held in the north of the country, awaiting trial for alleged economic crimes and a possible International Criminal Court probe into war crimes during the post-election conflict that killed at least 3,000 people.

"Gaining access to everyone arrested in connection with the post-electoral crisis has always been a priority for the ICRC," said Dominique Liengme, head of the ICRC delegation in Abidjan.

The ICRC also arranges for the exchange of family news between detainees and their relatives and distributes medical and other supplies to detainees as needed.

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