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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 February, 2004, 13:43 GMT
Nazi Papon sentence to get review
Convicted Nazi collaborator Maurice Papon
Legal experts say Papon is unlikely to succeed in his bid for a retrial
A French legal panel has granted a high court review of the conviction of Nazi collaborator Maurice Papon for complicity in crimes against humanity.

Papon, 93, was sentenced to 10 years in 1998 for helping to deport French Jews in World War II - but he was released in 2002 for health reasons.

The panel rejected a request for a retrial by Papon's lawyers.

The ruling means he will have another chance to gain one in May, though legal experts say he is unlikely to win.

The judicial review committee decision followed a ruling by the European Court of Human rights that France had illegally deprived Papon of the right to an appeal.

Papon's lawyers say France's highest court - the Cour de Cassation- was wrong to reject an appeal he made in 1999, when he had briefly fled to Switzerland instead of going to prison.

May hearing

The commission authorised the court to hold a hearing in May to consider whether Papon's conviction complied with the law.

It is very unlikely he will succeed
French legal expert

The former government minister was sentenced by a court in Bordeaux for helping to send more than 1,500 French Jews to Nazi death camps.

The hearing in May can confirm the Bordeaux court's decision or grant the retrial Mr Papon's lawyer have requested.

"It is very unlikely he will succeed," said one expert.

Painful memories

Papon was the highest-ranking French official to be sentenced for helping the Nazis, and his trial reopened painful memories about collaboration in occupied France during World War II.

Papon has denied any wrongdoing, despite his conviction.

Lawyers had repeatedly asked that Papon be released because of his age and ill-health.

Jewish groups opposed his release because they said he showed no remorse for his actions.

France 'violated Papon's rights'
25 Jul 02  |  Europe
Paris remembers lost Jews
19 Jul 02  |  Europe

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