France prosecutors seek to drop police charges over 2005 riot deaths

[JURIST] French judges may drop charges against two police officers who chased three teen boys into a power substation where two of the teens died after being electrocuted, according to Friday reports [AP report]. The two officers were charged in 2007 [JURIST report] with "non-assistance to a person in danger" under Article 223-6 of the French penal code [text] for failing to alert anyone that the teens had entered the substation. If convicted, the officers could face up to five years in prison and fines close to $100,000. The teens' deaths set off riots in France [JURIST news archive] that lasted three weeks. According to reports, French prosecutors have submitted a request to drop the case due to lack of evidence. Lawyers for the teens' families, Jean-Pierre Mignard and Emmanuel Tordjman [Lysias Partners profiles, in French], said dropping the case would send a message to police that they will not be held accountable for their actions. Investigating judges will make the final decision on whether to proceed with the case.

In 2006, French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin [JURIST news archive] promised to strengthen anti-vandalism laws [JURIST report] in France after a man was injured in violence marking the one-year anniversary of the 2005 riots. In 2006, France began to deport [JURIST report] some of the foreign rioters. In early 2006, France lifted its state of emergency [JURIST report] implemented during the riots. The riots began in late October 2005 and continued into November [JURIST report] of that year.

 

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