US customs 'mistreated' French minister

21st October 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, October 21 (AFP) - France has protested to the United States over the mistreatment of a government minister of north African origin by customs authorities at Atlanta airport, the foreign ministry in Paris said Friday.

PARIS, October 21 (AFP) - France has protested to the United States over the mistreatment of a government minister of north African origin by customs authorities at Atlanta airport, the foreign ministry in Paris said Friday.

On October 13 Azouz Begag, who is equal opportunities minister, was held by a customs officer for a "control that was a little excessive," according to spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei.

"We protested to the US authorities and have received clarifications via the State Department which recognised that a professional fault had been made by the officer. He has been reprimanded and will go through a retraining programme," Mattei said.

The spokesman refused to give details of the incident, but said the action of the official had been "completely out of place for a government minister."

Begag was born in 1957 in a poor neighbourhood of the southeastern city of Lyon, and worked as a sociologist, novelist and script-writer before joining the government of Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin earlier this year.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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