Probe clears French police of torture allegations

20th March 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 17, 2006 (AFP) - Preliminary findings from an internal French police probe have found no evidence to back claims that officers tortured terror suspects in custody in 1995, the IGPN police oversight body said Friday.

PARIS, March 17, 2006 (AFP) - Preliminary findings from an internal French police probe have found no evidence to back claims that officers tortured terror suspects in custody in 1995, the IGPN police oversight body said Friday.

A recent book alleged that suspects in a string of bomb attacks in France were tortured during questioning, subjected to sleep deprivation and electric shocks from stun-guns, and that one was dangled out of a sixth-floor window.

IGPN director Jacques Lamotte said the investigation, in which 18 officers were questioned, had been unable to confirm the torture charges — although he said that suspicions of mistreatment remained in one case.

"Suspicions remain of torture with electricity for one of the three suspects" who told the IGPN they had been mistreated, Lamotte said.

"However, these suspicions cannot be corroborated by any other witness account, medical certificate or remarks made to a doctor or lawyer."

Lamotte said the probe had confirmed, however, that officers had "slapped" detainees on several occasions, and pledged that all appropriate measures would be taken against those responsible.

"Slapping is clearly illegal, and therefore the IGPN condemns it," Lamotte said, although he stressed that the incidents were not full-blown beatings and said he "personally understood the slaps".

Written by three French journalists, "Place Beauvau", the nickname of the interior ministry, based its claims on anonymous interviews with five former police officers.

The officers questioned worked at the time of the alleged incidents for the police force in the central-eastern city of Lyon and for a police division since transformed into the DNAT national anti-terrorist department.

Paris and other French cities were hit by a string of bombings in 1995, including a deadly attack on the capital's Saint-Michel metro station in which eight people were killed and 150 injured.

The attacks were carried out by militants linked to the Algerian insurgent group the Armed Islamic Movement as retribution for France's support for the Algiers government.

The chief suspect in the bombings, Khaled Kelkal, was killed in a police manhunt near the central-eastern city of Lyon.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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