‘Devils couple’ to be extradited to Belgium from Ivory Coast on Tuesday
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    ‘Devils couple’ to be extradited to Belgium from Ivory Coast on Tuesday

    The couple, now divorced, was arrested by the authorities in Ivory Coast in November 2019. Credit: Gendarmerie Nationale de Côte d'Ivoire/Facebook

    Hilde Van Acker (56) and Jean-Claude Lacote (53), nicknamed the ‘devils couple’ in Belgian media, will be extradited to Belgium from Ivory Coast on Tuesday evening.

    The two long-term fugitives will be put on a plane in Abidjan, in Ivory Coast, on Tuesday evening, under security by the Fugitive Active Search Team (FAST) team of the federal police. They will land at the airport of Zaventem on Wednesday morning, where they will be met by Belgian investigators, who will immediately escort them to prison, reports Het Nieuwsblad.

    Arrested in Belgium over the 1996 murder of a British businessman, the pair fled to South Africa after they were conditionally released due to lack of evidence. They shot their victim, Marcus Mitchell (44), twice in the head and neck after he found that Lacote, an elusive conman now aged 53, had scammed him.

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    Sentenced to life in prison in absentia in 2011, Van Acker and Lacote were added to Europol’s most wanted list, and Van Acker was also a central figure in the police body’s “crime has no gender” campaign, launched in 2019.

    The couple, now divorced, were arrested by the authorities in Ivory Coast in November 2019, after managing to stay on the run for 23 years by using false names.

    After her arrest, Van Acker herself asked to be transferred to Belgium because she said her state of health was not good, as she reportedly suffers from cancer, according to De Morgen.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times