[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 8 April 2006, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
French man jailed in torture case
Jamal Derrar (standing) and Tony Rocca in court
Derrar said he felt ashamed of what he had done
A French man has been jailed for 25 years for burning a teenage girl to death in a rubbish depot, in a crime which shocked the nation.

Sohane Benziane, 17, was killed in October 2002 on a rundown housing estate in Vitry-sur-Seine, near Paris.

Jamal Derrar, 22, was convicted of torture and barbarity leading to unintentional death.

Outrage over Sohane's death led to a wave of feminist protest in France and the creation of a new campaign group.

Her death has become the symbol of the most extreme violence against women
Jean-Paul Content

Sohane's family left the court without comment after the verdict, which was announced at 0100 on Saturday (2300 GMT Friday) following six hours of deliberation.

The dead girl's lawyer said Derrar should have been charged with murder.

Feminist campaign

Derrar was convicted of pouring petrol over Sohane in the basement depot, then approaching her with a cigarette lighter and setting her on fire.


She died later at a hospital with burns over 80% of her body.

Derrar claimed she was his former girlfriend - a claim denied by witnesses - and that he had only been trying to scare her.

The court heard she had been attacked because she was the girlfriend of another man with whom Derrar had quarrelled.

A second defendant, 23-year-old Tony Rocca, was sentenced to eight years for barring the door of the depot as Sohane screamed for help.

Demanding a heavy sentence, prosecutor Jean-Paul Content told the court on Friday that the image of a woman being burned alive was sending France "several centuries back".

"Her death has become the symbol of the most extreme violence against women," he added.

Marches across France in protest at Sohane's killing in February and March 2003 led directly to the creation of feminist organisation Ni Putes Ni Soumises (Neither Whores Nor Slaves).

The organisation campaigns, in particular, for the rights of women from ethnic and religious minorities such as Sohane, a Muslim of North African origin.

French protest for murdered Jew
26 Feb 06 |  Europe
Ghettos shackle French Muslims
31 Oct 05 |  Europe

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific