Student who shot at Chirac given ten years' jail

10th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 10 (AFP) - Maxime Brunerie, a student who tried to assassinate French President Jacques Chirac at a Bastille Day parade two years ago, was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 10 years in jail by a Paris court Friday.

PARIS, Dec 10 (AFP) - Maxime Brunerie, a student who tried to assassinate French President Jacques Chirac at a Bastille Day parade two years ago, was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 10 years in jail by a Paris court Friday.  

The verdict came after a week-long trial during which psychiatrists testified that Brunerie, 27, had a fragile mental state but was aware of his actions -- an evaluation that led the judge to hand down a prison term significantly less than the life sentence the charge could bring.  

On July 14, 2002, Brunerie fired a single shot from a small-bore rifle at Chirac as the president's motorcade made its way down the Champs-Elysees.  

He was quickly overpowered by bystanders in the crowd and turned over to police.   Experts said that if it had been on target, the shot could have killed the president, who was about 20 metres (yards) away.  

Brunerie said when his trial opened that he committed the act to go down in history, but on Friday, just before the sentence was read out, he expressed his "deep and sincere regret" for the bid on Chirac's life.  

The 10-year sentence was more than the six-to-eight-year prison term the prosecution had demanded.  

His defence lawyers tried to portray Brunerie, a student with links to far-right extremist groups, as a mentally disturbed loner in need of medical care not prison.  

"I wanted to do something historic, something scandalous. I had mucked up my life. I didn't want to muck up my death," Brunerie said Monday to explain his reasons.   He said he had no political motivation for the attack.  

Of the seven psychologists and psychiatrists who testified as to Brunerie's state of mind at the time of the shooting, only one said he believed Brunerie had a mental illness - schizophrenia linked with severe depression - that should exonerate him from a prison sentence.  

But the others said that, though they diagnosed that Brunerie's mind was "altered" at the time of the attack, he was aware of what he was doing.  

Brunerie, who did odd jobs as a chauffeur and nightwatchman, was known to the intelligence services for attending rallies organised by groups such as Radical Unity and the Union Defence Group. He also campaigned for a breakaway faction of the far-right National Front party.  

According to the prosecution, Brunerie bought the .22 calibre rifle a week before the attack and was given training in the Burgundian countryside by a former foreign legionnaire. The man testified to police that his pupil showed little aptitude.  

On the eve of the July 14 Bastille Day parade, Brunerie left a note on the Internet site of a British far-right group that read: "Look at the television this Sunday. I will be the star. Maxime of Paris."

© AFP

Subject: French News

 

 

 

 

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