Bolivia to ask US to extradite former leader

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LA PAZ, Sep 12 (Reuters) Bolivia's top court has asked the government to start extradition proceedings against a former president who lives in self-exile in the United States, the attorney general said.

The leftist administration of President Evo Morales wants to try former leader Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada for his role during political violence in October 2003 in which about 60 people were killed when security forces clashed with anti-government protesters.

Attorney General Mario Uribe said the Supreme Court ruling would pave the way for Sanchez de Lozada's extradition to Bolivia, adding that the court had also requested an order to stop Sanchez de Lozada fleeing to a third country.

Uribe said in a statement yesterday the ruling was ''a fundamental step that clears the way by removing one more obstacle.'' Sanchez de Lozada quit as president amid the bloodshed of 2003 and fled to the United States 13 months into his second term as president of the poor South American country.

A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman in La Paz said officials were aware of the court's decision and that Bolivia's ambassador to Washington would make contact with U.S.

authorities shortly.

Reuters TB VP0606

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