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French Court Sentences Soccer Fan

May 22, 2001

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SAINT-OMER, France (AP) _ A French court on Tuesday sentenced a German soccer fan to five years in prison for his part in the near-fatal beating of a French policeman during the 1998 World Cup.

The court in Pas-de-Calais in northern France also banned Markus Warnecke, 30, from entering French territory for 10 years and prohibited him from entering any sports facilities for five years.

Warnecke has been detained in France for nearly three years. He was accused of being one of the ringleaders in the beating that left officer Daniel Nivel in a coma for six weeks.

Nivel suffered irreversible neurological damage from the June 21, 1998, attack in which German hooligans repeatedly bashed the officer over the head with a metal rod and a wooden board after the German team played Yugoslavia in the northern French city of Lens.

During the trial, two policemen who were with Nivel testified they saw Warnecke kick their colleague after he had been knocked to the ground by another German supporter.

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