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Court to Hear Police Chief Complaint

November 16, 2001

STRASBOURG, France (AP) _ The European Court of Human Rights has agreed to hear a complaint by Maurice Papon, a French former police chief imprisoned for his role in deporting Jews to Nazi death camps during World War II.

The court said late Thursday that it had declared admissible Papon’s complaint that he was denied the right to appeal his 1998 conviction for complicity in crimes against humanity. His other complaints were rejected.

Papon, 91, is serving a 10-year prison term in Paris’ La Sante prison. He has become the center of debate in France on the imprisonment of the elderly. Last month, President Jacques Chirac rejected a third request to pardon Papon on health grounds.

Papon, who led the Bordeaux area police during the Nazi occupation of France and later went on to become budget minister, was convicted for his role in the arrest and deportation of 1,500 Jews.

He fled to Switzerland after the conviction, but was arrested and began serving his sentence in October 1999.

In June, the European rights court dismissed an appeal for Papon’s release, rejecting his lawyers’ argument that incarcerating such an elderly man constituted ``inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,″ which is banned by the European Convention of Human Rights.

The European court enforces that 1952 convention, which all 43 members of the Council of Europe are bound to uphold.

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On the Net:

European Court of Human Rights: http://www.echr.coe.int/

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