Nazi collaborator Papon appeals conviction

20th February 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 19 (AFP) - Lawyers for a French Nazi collaborator, Maurice Papon, argued in front of a Paris panel of judges Thursday that their client should be granted a fresh appeal against his 1998 conviction for helping deport 1,500 Jews during World War II.

PARIS, Feb 19 (AFP) - Lawyers for a French Nazi collaborator, Maurice Papon, argued in front of a Paris panel of judges Thursday that their client should be granted a fresh appeal against his 1998 conviction for helping deport 1,500 Jews during World War II.

Papon, who was released from a 10-year prison sentence in 2002 because of his age - 93 - and frail health, had a "natural right to be judged a second time," the lawyers, Jean-Marc Varaut and Francis Vuillemin, contended.

They based their demand on a 2002 verdict by the European Court of Human Rights that found Papon's right to appeal had been violated by France, which had halted an initial legal challenge in 1999 after Papon ran away to Switzerland, where he was swiftly recaptured.

The Paris panel of appeal judges was formed to work out how to abide by the European court's ruling - particularly whether its verdict required a new trial or simply a judicial review of Papon's case.

They are to hand down their decision February 26.

The state prosecutor, Jacques Mouton, argued against a trial, saying only a review might be in order.

The families of some of the 1,500 Jews deported from Bordeaux during the time that Papon was the Vichy-era official in charge of the southwestern French city also said they could not countenance the idea of a new trial.

"Let's just finish up," one of them, 74-year-old Juliette Benzazon, said."You get the impression that it's Papon who's the victim, but that's wrong," she told the judges.

"It's time for the victims that this affair ends," one of their lawyers, Gerard Boulanger, said.

© AFP

                                                              Subject: France news

 

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