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Brittany separatists jailed for violent campaign

Published on 29/03/2004

PARIS, March 26 (AFP) - Seven pro-independence militants from the western French region of Brittany were given jail terms Friday for a separatist campaign of low-level violence, but were acquitted of killing a woman in the 2000 bombing of a McDonald's fast-food restaurant.

Gael Roblin, the 31-year-old former spokesman for the Breton Revolutionary Army’s (ARB), was given a three-year term and another top suspect on trial, ARB member Christian Georgeault, 48, was handed a 11-year sentence.

The prosecutor had asked for 18- and 15-year sentences against the men.

Both were acquitted of involvement in the April 2000 bomb attack on the McDonald’s in the Brittany town of Quevert which killed 27-year-old employee Laurence Turbec.

That attack, the only fatal one of 17 separate explosions between 1993 and 2000 mentioned in the trial, was seen as an aberration for the ARB and prompted both it and its political wing Emgann to renounce the armed struggle.

Pascal Laize and Stephane Philippe, 37 and 35 years of age, were convicted of being the group’s bomb experts, and sent to prison for eight and six years, respectively. But they were also acquitted of involvement in the McDonald’s attack.

Three other ARB suspects were given sentences ranging from four to six years, while four other people walked free from the Paris courtroom.

Included among the acquitted was Jerome Bouthier, 29, who had been held in France since October 2000 over the affair.


                                         Subject: French news