Mercenary Bob Denard back in court

6th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 5, 2007 (AFP) - French mercenary Bob Denard goes before a Paris court on Wednesday in an appeal brought by prosecutors against his suspended sentence for staging the 1995 coup attempt in the Comoros.

PARIS, June 5, 2007 (AFP) - French mercenary Bob Denard goes before a Paris court on Wednesday in an appeal brought by prosecutors against his suspended sentence for staging the 1995 coup attempt in the Comoros.

Denard, now 78 and suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, is to appear in court to show that he is unfit to stand trial, his lawyer Elie Hatem said.  

"He is physically frail, has kidney problems and his mental faculties are altered," said Hatem.

"I will prove that we are putting on trial someone who is not able to defend himself."

Denard, who lives in the town of Chenneviere sur Marne on Paris' southeastern outskirts, was given a five-year suspended sentence in June 2006 for leading the coup attempt in the Indian Ocean republic.

A judge found Denard and 26 others guilty of criminal association in relation to the coup but justified lighter-than-expected sentences by invoking French complicity in the plot.

Denard, by far the best known of the soldiers of fortune who fought in post-colonial Africa, had testified that he acted on behalf of the French secret services.

The new trial is scheduled to end on June 15.

French prosecutors sought a re-trial, arguing that a suspended sentence could not be handed down if the defendant had not had a previous conviction in the past five years.

Denard's last conviction dated back to 1993 when he was given a five-year suspended sentence in connection with the 1977 coup attempt in Benin.

Denard's lawyer said he planned to call Ecology Minister Alain Juppe to the bar to testify since he served as prime minister under Jacques Chirac when the coup attempt took place in the Comoros.

Denard led a team of some 30 mercenaries who landed in rubber dinghies on the night of September 27, 1995 and captured president Said Mohamed Djohar in his palace in the republic's capital Moroni.

The 1995 plot was Denard's fourth and last coup or coup attempt in the Comoros islands, an archipelago off Africa's east coast that won independence from France in 1975.

Born Gilbert Bourgeaud in the southwestern city of Bordeaux, Denard only attended the first day of his three-week trial in 2006 and offered written testimony that he had acted in France's interests.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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