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Tuesday, 19 November, 2002, 14:51 GMT
Bove to be jailed for crop attacks
Jose Bove in Brazilian GM crop field
Bove says GM crops deny "right to healthy environment"
French radical farmer Jose Bove will be sent to jail for 14 months for two offences of destroying genetically modified (GM) crops.

Bove had been seeking to have his sentences of six months and eight months overturned, but France's highest court, the Cour de Cassation, ruled against him.

It said he should serve the six-month sentence for a 1999 attack on a field of GM rice near the southern city of Montpellier.

The decision automatically meant that he should also serve the longer sentence, for a similar attack in 1998.

Appeals

He will not have to go to jail until formally notified of the court's decision.

Bove said he would appeal to French President Jacques Chirac to pardon him.

"Of course we cannot ask him to overturn the verdict, but he has the power to stop the sentence being applied," he said in a statement.

"The ball is in his court now."

His lawyer, Francois Roux, said he would also be appealing to the European Court of Human Rights.

Bove, a sheep farmer from near Millau in southern France, shot to national prominence after leading protesters in tearing down a partially-built local McDonald's restaurant in 1999.

McDonald's sentence

He and his supporters have undertaken a series of raids to destroy fields where the crops are grown, in what they say is a struggle for the "right to live in a healthy environment".

Last month he was fined 3,000 euros for an attack in 2000 on a field near the southern French town of Gaudies.

France grows experimental GM crops on about 100 sites, all of which have been approved by the government.

His attack on the McDonalds restaurant earned him 61 days in jail, which he completed in August this year.

See also:

22 Oct 02 | Europe
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