Thursday, February 08, 2007


Will Olivier Géron Survive?

The French judge Olivier Géron of Bobigny (Seine-Saint-Denis) has indicted two police officers in connection with the deaths by electrocution of two teenagers fleeing the police in Clichy-sous-Bois in 2005.

Following hearings into the incident which, followed by unsympathetic declarations by Interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy, led to massive civil unrest, the judge has charged the two police officers with refusing assistance to people in danger ("non-assistance à personnes en danger").

Due to legal procedural constraints, the trial will not take place before the presidential elections. Interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy is running for president. At the time of the incident, he claimed the youngsters were fleeing the scene of a robbery they had been committing, and were not being chased by police; they had in fact been repeatedly chased by the police. In December 2006, he said that to blame the police for these deaths would be very unjust and out of proportion; police radio messages indicate they were aware the youngsters risked electrocution, but made no attempt to have the power cut off. Mr. Sarkozy has not yet commented on the indictments.

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