French Pakistan attack victims' families sue judge

15th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Relatives of Frenchmen killed in a 2002 bombing in Pakistan are suing a judge who probed the case, their lawyer said Wednesday, alleging it was falsely framed as a suicide attack.

They lodged a complaint alleging that the judge, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, had ignored an autopsy on the suspected bomber which they say cast doubt on claims that he drove a vehicle packed with explosives, said the lawyer, Olivier Morice.

"All these years, real disinformation has been orchestrated in order to make people believe that this attack was carried out as a suicide bombing," he said.

The ongoing probe, now under the supervision of a different judge, centres on allegations that the attack was revenge for the cancellation of kickbacks promised to officials involved in the sale of French submarines to Pakistan.

The bombing in Karachi in 2002 killed 11 French engineers working for the French state company that built the submarines and at least three Pakistanis.

The complex case has implicated President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was budget minister at the time. He has denied any involvement.

The victims' families have accused officials of trying to bury the affair. Their latest suit accuses Bruguiere, who led the French judicial investigation into the bombing from 2002 to 2007, of false testimony and obstructing justice.

They have already brought a manslaughter suit against former president Jacques Chirac, former prime minister Dominique de Villepin and executives involved in the arms deals, and have called for Sarkozy to be questioned.

Judges have also been investigating whether money paid in commissions ended up being channelled to fund political activities in France. Witnesses have told investigators Sarkozy approved the commissions as budget minister at the time.

Sarkozy has dismissed the claims as a "fairytale."

© 2011 AFP

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