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French War Crime Trial Suspended

October 24, 1997

BORDEAUX, France (AP) _ The judge presiding over the war crimes trial of Maurice Papon suspended proceedings until next week Thursday after the accused was hospitalized again complaining of bronchitis.

Papon, who underwent triple bypass surgery last year, has noted his health problems several times during the trial. On the trial’s second day, he was briefly hospitalized after suffering chest pains. The court then freed him for the duration of the proceedings, angering many relatives of Holocaust victims.

On Thursday morning, The 87-year-old Papon was taken to the Haut-Leveque cardiological hospital in Pessac, near Bordeaux. He was ailing from bronchitis, his lawyers said, adding that doctors insisted he return to the hospital after he said he felt ill during Wednesday’s trial session. That proceedings were suspended for an hour, and then cut short early.

However, Papon was feeling well enough to tape a TV interview earlier Wednesday, in which he told the British Broadcasting Corp. that he was being used as a ``scapegoat″ for the wrongs of the pro-Nazi Vichy regime.

Later Thursday, presiding Judge Jean-Louis Castagnede announced that the trial, now in its third week, would resume Monday afternoon.

Papon, a former Cabinet minister, is charged with crimes against humanity for his alleged role in arresting and deporting 1,690 Jews from Bordeaux while he was a police supervisor under the pro-Nazi Vichy regime. Most of those Jews later died at the Auschwitz death camp.

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