Long-fugitive ex-diplomat arrested in France on rape charges

Swiss authorities say a former Syrian diplomat has been arrested in Versailles after 15 years on the run from rape charges in Switzerland.

The Geneva prosecutor's office said in a statement Wednesday that the man was detained Tuesday by French police based on an international warrant, and that extradition proceedings will be launched.

Swiss prosecutors charged the man, whose name wasn't released, with rape and sexual violence in 1997 when he was based in Geneva as a Syrian diplomat. Syria recalled him, and he was convicted in absentia in 2001 and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Geneva police recently located him in Versailles, where he was living under a false identity with the status of a political refugee, the statement said.