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The Latest: Lawyer says Ivory Coast ex-minister free soon

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Latest on Ivory Coast's former leader at the ICC (all times local): 6:15 p.m. A lawyer for former Ivory Coast youth minister Charles Ble Goude says he expects his client to be freed in a matter of hours after the International Criminal Court ruled that he should be granted conditional release.

ICC appeals judges also ordered the conditional release of Ivory Coast's ex-president Laurent Gbagbo on Friday, more than two weeks after the two men were acquitted of involvement in deadly violence that erupted after their country's 2010 election.

Geert-Jan Knoops said it remained unclear exactly where and when Ble Goude would be set free by the court or under what conditions.  Ble Goude has been in detention at the global court for nearly five years. Gbagbo has been behind bars even longer. He was sent to the court in November 2011.

5 p.m.

International Criminal Court judges have ordered the conditional release of Ivory Coast's ex-president and a former youth minister, more than two weeks after they were acquitted of involvement in deadly violence that erupted after their country's 2010 election.

Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji said Friday that former president Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Ble Goude should be freed but did not immediately give details of the conditions of their release.

Gbagbo, who smiled broadly and waved to supporters in the court's public gallery after the ruling, was not immediately released. Eboe-Osuji instructed court officials to identify a country willing to accept Gbagbo and Ble Goude.

Prosecution lawyers had urged judges to release the men only with conditions to ensure they return to the court for the appeals phase of their case.

10:40 a.m.

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court have told judges they do not object to the conditional release of Ivory Coast's former president and youth minister following their acquittals last month on charges of involvement in deadly post-election violence.

Prosecution appeals lawyer Helen Brady told judges Friday that ex-president Laurent Gbagbo and former minister Charles Ble Goude can be released if conditions are imposed to ensure they return to court for hearings in the future. Prosecutors plan to appeal the acquittals.

Trial judges ordered the immediate release of Gbagbo and Ble Goude after their acquittals, but they have remained jailed amid wrangling over whether judges should impose conditions on their freedom.

Lawyers for the two men will address judges later Friday and are expected to demand their unconditional release.

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