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Al Fayed appeals paparazzi acquittals

LONDON, Nov 28 (AFP) – London-based tycoon Mohamed Al Fayed said Friday he was launching “an immediate appeal” of a French court decision to acquit three photographers who took pictures of Princess Diana and his son Dodi on the night of their fatal car crash in Paris six years ago.

In a statement, Al Fayed said he failed to understand the logic behind a French judge’s decision not to convict the photographers and give them suspended sentences, as recommended by the prosecution.

“Here we have another judge … who seems determined to sweep the whole tragic affair under the carpet, thereby aiding the continued cover-up,” the Egyptian-born businessman said.

“The paparazzi played a significant part in the tragedy and they should be punished,” said Al Fayed in the statement, written on the letterhead of his Harrods department store. “Accordingly I have lodged an immediate appeal.”

Al Fayed, who also owns the Ritz hotel in Paris where lovers Diana and Dodi dined before the accident that took their lives, has always insisted that the car crash that killed them was the result of foul play.

Henri Paul, a Ritz employee who was at the wheel of the Mercedes-Benz limousine, was also killed, while Diana’s bodyguard survived.

Jacques Langevin, Christian Martinez and Fabrice Chassery were found not guilty earlier Friday in a Paris court of breaching France’s tough privacy laws when they photographed the pair inside their limousine.

The case came to court as a result of a civil suit filed by Al Fayed, who claimed a symbolic one euro in damages.

His lawyer Bernard Dartevelle earlier Friday described the verdict as a “reversal of legal precedent”, as he disclosed that he would probably lodge an appeal on his client’s behalf.


                                                                Subject: French news