Conviction upheld in Corsica murder trial

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A Paris court Monday upheld a Corsican separatist's life sentence for assassinating a local police chief, at the end of his second appeal in a contested and long-running murder case.

The court upheld the conviction of Yvan Colonna, 51, for shooting dead police prefect Claude Erignac in 1998, which he denies.

"I am innocent!" Colonna yelled as he left the stand.

His lawyer Antoine Sollacaro vowed to take the case to the highest appeals court. Colonna's defence team argue that the police investigation into the killing was flawed.

Colonna was named as the shooter by fellow members of his armed separatist group, who later retracted the charge, one of them claiming himself to have been the killer.

Erignac, the most senior state representative on the French Mediterranean island, was killed by three bullets to the head on a street in Ajaccio in a rare political assassination on French soil.

Colonna was arrested in 2003 after four years on the run in the wilds of Corsica and first convicted in 2007.

© 2011 AFP

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