Sarkozy angry after gangland suspects released

27th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 27 (AFP) - France's high-profile Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy spoke out angrily on Monday after 15 alleged gangland members from the southeastern city of Grenoble were released from custody because of a procedural error.

PARIS, June 27 (AFP) - France's high-profile Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy spoke out angrily on Monday after 15 alleged gangland members from the southeastern city of Grenoble were released from custody because of a procedural error.

"I have nothing to say because these facts speak for themselves. I can feel people's anger rising," he said after a meeting with Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.

"These are not just anecdotes. This is years of work for police and magistrates. And now to see 15 crooks released in these conditions -- is it surprising that I am demanding action?" he asked.

Detained in December on suspicion of involvement in prostitution and money-laundering, the 15 were freed because the judge in charge of the case was ruled to have exceeded his powers in ordering investigations.

Four years of investigation and some 25,000 pages of evidence have been wasted, according to the daily Le Figaro.

Sarkozy, 51, heads the ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party and is a likely candidate for 2007 presidential elections. He has drawn extensive and sometimes critical coverage over the last week for his outspoken comments on law and order.

After an 11 year-old boy was killed by a stray bullet in a nothern Paris suburb on June 19, he promised that the housing estate would be "cleaned up with an industrial power-hose."

Two days later he said that a judge who released a convicted killer now the prime suspect in another murder "should be made to pay for his mistake."

Left-wing politicians accused Sarkozy of blatant populism in order to win over voters from the far-right National Front.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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