Juppe judges 'were not target of interference'

3rd May 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 30 (AFP) - The judges who convicted former French prime minister Alain Juppe for illegal party funding were not pressured from the outside, the Higher Council of Judges said in a report released Friday.

PARIS, April 30 (AFP) - The judges who convicted former French prime minister Alain Juppe for illegal party funding were not pressured from the outside, the Higher Council of Judges said in a report released Friday.

In a report to President Jacques Chirac, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, the Conseil Superieur de la Magistrature said the judges on the Juppe case "were not subject to any intervention aimed at influencing their decision".

"We were unable to find any attempts to undermine their independence, either during the public hearings or during their deliberations," said the state body tasked with guaranteeing the independence of France's judiciary.

Juppe was found guilty on January 30 of illegally paying party officials with Paris municipal funds between 1988 and 1995 when Chirac, his political mentor, was mayor of the French capital.

Given an 18-month suspended prison term and a 10-year ban on elected office, Juppe appealed against the sentence and announced he would stay in politics pending a new court hearing, scheduled to take place in October.

The trial was the closest France's judicial authorities have come to investigating Chirac's personal knowledge of the funding scam, and revived calls for him to be prosecuted when he leaves office and loses his presidential immunity.

The day after the court rendered its decision in the Juppe case, Le Parisien newspaper quoted presiding judge Catherine Pierce as saying that her offices had been broken into and her phones tapped in the run-up to the verdict.

But the Higher Council of Judges said in its report that the judges "never gave interviews and said they had not been subject to any outside pressures".

Juppe is currently head of Chirac's Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party. He said in February that he would step down from that post in November.


© AFP

                                                Subject: French news

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