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Chile agrees extradition to France of accused in Japanese student murder: court

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Santiago (AFP)

The Supreme Court in Santiago on Thursday agreed to hand over to France a Chilean man accused of killing a Japanese student.

French investigators had requested the extradition of Nicolas Zepeda, 28, who is suspected of murdering his Japanese ex-girlfriend in the eastern French city of Besancon in 2016.

"The request for passive extradition presented by the French Republic regarding the Chilean citizen Nicolas Zepeda is accepted," Supreme Court judge Jorge Dahm said in a ruling.

Zepeda's lawyers have five days to appeal the ruling.

Narumi Kurosaki, 21, went missing from her university residence in Besancon, a town near the Alps, after having dinner with Zepeda, her ex-boyfriend.

Zepeda, a teaching assistant, had returned to Chile by the time her disappearance was reported several days later.

Investigators are convinced that Kurosaki was killed by Zepeda in a jealous rage but her body was never found despite extensive searches.

France issued an international warrant for Zepeda's arrest but a Chilean judge in February 2017 rejected the request to arrest him, citing insufficient evidence.

Besancon prosecutor Etienne Manteaux announced last October that his office had sent an extradition request to the French government, to be formally presented to Chile.

The suspect was questioned on April 18 by a Chilean judge in the presence of French investigators, including Manteaux. Zepeda denies any hand in Kurosaki's disappearance.

Zepeda, who had threatened Kurosaki in a video posted online which he later removed, admits going to her room on the night of her death for what he described as consensual sex and says he left straight afterwards.

The pair met in 2014 in Japan, where Zepeda was a student, and a year later began a relationship that ended after Kurosaki moved to France in August 2016.

In Besancon, Kurosaki entered a new relationship, a development which "clearly exasperated Nicolas Zepeda," according to Manteaux.

In the days before her disappearance, Zepeda flew to France, hired a car and drove to Besancon, stopping on the way to buy matches, flammable liquid and bleach at a supermarket.

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