Djibouti denies meddling in French judge death probe

25th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

DJIBOUTI, Jan 25 (AFP) - Djibouti on Tuesday said it had fully cooperated with investigators probing the death of Bernard Borrel, a French judge whose alleged 1995 suicide under unusual circumstances has sparked a row with France.

DJIBOUTI, Jan 25 (AFP) - Djibouti on Tuesday said it had fully cooperated with investigators probing the death of Bernard Borrel, a French judge whose alleged 1995 suicide under unusual circumstances has sparked a row with France.

In a strongly-worded statement, the foreign ministry said the investigation into the judge's death had been conducted entirely by French authorities and that Djibouti had done nothing to compromise it or interfere in the process.

Djibouti did not interfere with the "legal proceeding surrounding the death of Borrel" and did not carry out parallel investigations, it said.

The judge's body was found soaked in petrol and half burned 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the Djiboutian capital in October 1995.

An official inquiry in Djibouti found that he had committed suicide but French courts, which took up the case after Borrel's widow Elisabeth lodged a complaint, suspect her husband was murdered.

However, the foreign ministry said Djibouti had not been involved in the inquest.

"Judge Borrel's body was found by French police, taken to a French military hospital and examined by French doctors who confirmed the cause of death to be suicide," it said, noting that the corpse was later buried in Toulouse.

"Djibouti authorities did not at any point interfere with the process," the ministry said.

The statement was released after the French foreign ministry said Saturday that Djibouti was expelling a number of French aid workers as a result of the row over Borrel's death.

Those measures were taken after a French court summoned the head of Djibouti's secret services Hassan Said to question him about an accusation that he suborned witnesses in Borrel case.

In addition, French broadcaster, Radio France Internationale (RFI), said Djibouti had shut down its transmitter on January 14 after it aired a program about the case.

The communique from the Djibouti foreign ministry did not address the deportation of the six French aid workers or the shuttering of the RFI transmitter.

The row between France and its former Horn of Africa colony could have repercussions on the main French military and naval base in Africa, which houses some 2,700 troops.

The United States and Germany also have forces based in Djibouti.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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