Belgium will take in former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo following a request from the International Criminal Court which freed him from detention earlier, Belgian News Agency Belga said on Saturday.

Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo

The International Criminal Court contacted Belgium because of Gbagbo’s family ties in the country, Belga quoted a Belgian foreign ministry spokesman Karl Lagatie.

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Gbagbo, who ruled Ivory Coast from 2000 to 2011, has spent seven years in custody in The Hague.

Gbagbo and co-defendant Charles Blé Goudé were acquitted of atrocities charges on Jan. 15.

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However he had been kept in detention pending objections by prosecutors, who plan to appeal against the acquittal and sought guarantees that the men would return to court later if required.

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