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Bulgaria to extradite Frenchman who knew Charlie Hebdo attackers

Bulgarian court ruled Tuesday that a Frenchman who admits knowing the Charlie Hebdo attackers but denies being an Islamic extremist could be extradited to France following an arrest warrant issued by Paris.

Haskovo: Bulgarian court ruled Tuesday that a Frenchman who admits knowing the Charlie Hebdo attackers but denies being an Islamic extremist could be extradited to France following an arrest warrant issued by Paris.

Muslim convert Fritz-Joly Joachin, 29, arrested on January 1 as he tried to cross from Bulgaria into Turkey, told the court in Haskovo in southern Bulgaria: "I am innocent. I want to return to France."

Joachin, of Haitian origin, has admitted to being "old friends" with the Kouachi brothers who shot dead 12 people in Paris on January 7 in an attack on the Paris offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

Last week he said he used to play football with the brothers and had a "business connection" selling clothes but denied knowing about their plans to launch an Islamist attack.

According to the arrest warrant issued by French authorities, Joachin was travelling on a bus with three other people who knew the Kouachis when he was arrested. They were allowed to continue travelling into Turkey.