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Decision on Radical Farmer Delayed

April 5, 2002

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MILLAU, France (AP) _ A judge delayed a decision Friday on whether French farmer Jose Bove must serve prison time for ransacking a McDonald’s restaurant in a protest against U.S.-driven globalization.

France’s highest court recently upheld Bove’s sentence of three months in prison for using farm equipment to tear down a McDonald’s under construction in southern France in August 1999.

Jacques Chauche, a judge in the southern town of Millau, has been studying how to apply the court’s decision. On Friday, he decided to pass the case on to the prosecutor’s office in nearby Montpellier, said Bove’s lawyer, Francois Roux.

It was unclear when the prosecutor’s office would make a decision.

As Bove already spent nearly three weeks in jail for the protest, officials could order him to serve the rest of his sentence in a supervised work release program, for example.

The militant sheep farmer says he would rather go to prison.

``I was found guilty in the French justice system, and I want to serve my sentence,″ Bove said as he left the Millau courthouse, where about 3,000 supporters were gathered.

The McDonald’s protest made Bove famous, and he now travels the world as an anti-globalization leader. Earlier this week, Bove met with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Ramallah, in defiance of the Israeli soldiers who surrounded the compound. Bove was then ordered deported by Israel.

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