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>JN Oct. 10, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 185
Deliberations Open in Papon Holocaust Trial
By Julian Nundy (VOA-Bordeaux)
Medical experts have recommended Maurice Papon, a former French
budget minister accused of active involvement in the deportation of
Jews from France to Nazi death camps during World War 2, should be
moved from prison to a hospital during his trial. Deliberations
opened this week in the city of Bordeaux.
Papon's lawyer argues his 87-year-old client, who is facing the
charge of complicity in crimes against humanity, should be free
during his 10-week trial because of his age and health.
The judge, after hearing medical advice, said he will announce
the court's final decision Friday. The judge said two doctors
who examined Papon decided ordinary prison conditions could present
a danger to an old man suffering from heart problems. They
recommended he spend the night in hospital while the case is heard.
Papon's lawyer said even a stay in hospital under police guard
amounts to being a prisoner. He noted his client has always
responded to legal summonses in the 16-years since the first
accusations were leveled against him.
It would be unprecedented for a defendant facing such a serious
charge in France not to be detained during his trial. Papon's
lawyer complains the former minister is being kept in a tiny cell
and is disturbed by other prisoners shouting insults.
Papon is accused of organizing rail convoys that took 1,600 Jews
from the Bordeaux region to Nazi death-camps. During World War 2,
Papon was a senior local official. He acknowledges he authorized
the dispatch of the trains to a transit camp near Paris, but says
he had no idea of the Jews' final destination or that most of them
His lawyer said the trial should be stopped now under the European
Human Rights Convention. This convention stipulates trials of
criminals should be held within a reasonable period. Papon is being
tried for events dating back more than 50-years.
The lawyer said, although the crimes against humanity charge has
no statute of limitations, his client cannot be compared with Nazi
war criminals who fled Europe for South America, sometimes to hide
The lawyer said the wealth of literature available in France about
the wartime period meant members of the jury have already formed an
opinion about Papon's conduct.
Flak Flies in Failed Assassination Attempt
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel's government continued to come under fire Thursday for
its attempt to assassinate a leader of the Islamic Hamas movement
in Jordan. But peace talks with the Palestinians were moving
forward for the first time in eight months.
Three days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
appointed a high-level commission to investigate the failed
assassination attempt, one of its members resigned, and Foreign
Minister David Levy said he is considering doing the same. Levy has
threatened to resign before, but this time, he says, he is serious.
Meanwhile, Israeli-Palestinian committees discussing various issues
continued to meet, following Monday night's formal resumption of
talks and Tuesday's midnight summit. Both sides say there is a
greatly improved atmosphere, with some progress already on economic
issues, and more expected next week.
Russia Says It Foiled Iranian Attempt to Buy Missile Technology
By IINS News Service
Moscow -- Russia's security services said that Iran tried to
obtain missile technology from Russian companies, while insisting
that all such attempts have been thwarted, the Associated Press
Israel's TV Channel Two said it had obtained evidence that the
Russian government was helping Iran develop long-range missiles
that could reach Israel, although Russia repeatedly denied the
report. Russia acknowledged for the first time that Iran had tried
to get missile technology, mentioning an attempt earlier this year
to have the Russian company NPO Trud build components for missile
engines, disguised as equipment for gas compressor stations, AP
said, citing a statement by a Federal Security Service spokesman.
Israel and the US have accused Iran of sponsoring international
terrorism and of attempting to construct long-range missiles and
nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies.
50 Years of Aliyah to Israel
In light of the collapse of the central planning committee for
Israel's jubilee celebrations, at least two government ministries
are planning their own festivities. The Ministry of Absorption is
planning dozens of different events featuring the subject of
immigration to Israel.
The Ministry is planning a central event in a city with an
immigrant population of at least 25%, an international seminar on
the topic of aliyah, a song festival for children of olim,
exhibitions, and more. The Education Ministry is also planning
alternative events of its own to commemorate the 50th anniversary
of the founding of the State.
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