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Papon’s Children Object to Prison

October 30, 2000

PARIS (AP) _ The children of Maurice Papon, a former Vichy official imprisoned for Nazi-era crimes against humanity, filed a complaint Monday claiming ``inhuman treatment″ and saying incarceration amounts to a death sentence for their 90-year-old father.

Papon’s two daughters, his son and his son-in-law lodged the complaint against French prison administration director Martine Viallet in a court in Paris. They cited a June parliamentary report criticizing the state of French prisons and argued that Papon’s age makes his situation worse.

``These conditions of imprisonment, which would be unacceptable for any prisoner, are unbearable for Maurice Papon because the simple fact of his advanced age allows one to describe such treatment as inhuman,″ the complaint said, according to the judicial sources who spoke on condition they not be named.

Papon was convicted in April 1998 and sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in the arrest and deportation of Jews to Nazi death camps while he was a police supervisor in southwestern France during World War II.

Papon is the highest-ranking official of the pro-Nazi Vichy regime to be convicted of crimes against humanity committed during the war. His criminal trial was France’s longest, lasting six months.

Earlier this year, French President Jacques Chirac turned down a request for a medical pardon for Papon, who had triple coronary bypass surgery several years ago and had a pacemaker implanted last January.

Papon is being held at La Sante prison in Paris. The report released by the French parliament in June said many prisons were too small, overcrowded and lacked adequate staff and resources.

Papon’s children also argued that detaining any 90-year-old was like a ``veiled application of the death penalty″ because it would speed the prisoner’s death.

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