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CRIME

Burundi court jails Frenchman 25 years for rape

A court in Burundi on Monday found a Frenchman guilty of raping five teenagers, giving him a 25-year jail sentence and a fine of €14,000 ($20,000).

Patrice Faye, 58, was accused of raping five girls aged 13 to 17 — students at a school he set up for poor children. He denied the charges.

Supreme Court spokesman Elie Ntungwanayo said Faye, a long-time resident, could appeal the sentence.

The trial had been held behind closed doors since June 16. Prosecutors had sought a 35-year prison term.

Faye was arrested in early April and was detained in a prison in central Bujumbura following accusations by the girls.

In a letter addressed to AFP in May, Faye said a doctor had confirmed that three of his accusers were still virgins.

“My client is very shocked. This is someone who has spent 35 years of his life in Burundi doing good things and he is being convicted because of young girls who want to extort money,” his lawyer Fabien Segatwa said.

“Patrice Faye did nothing. He still maintains his innocence,” said the lawyer, adding: “It is a death sentence given his age.”

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POLITICS

French justice minister faces trial on conflict of interest charge

France's justice minister has been ordered to stand trial in a conflict of interest case that has embarrassed President Emmanuel Macron's government, his lawyers said on Monday.

French justice minister faces trial on conflict of interest charge

His lawyers said they had immediately lodged an appeal to block the move.

Eric Dupond-Moretti, a former star defence lawyer, was last year charged with misusing his position to settle scores with opponents from his legal career, becoming the first sitting French justice minister to be charged in a legal probe.

The accusations relate to administrative inquiries into three judges. The three had ordered police in 2014 to pore through the phone records of dozens of lawyers and magistrates, including Dupond-Moretti, as part of an investigation into former president Nicolas Sarkozy.

The judiciary accused Dupond-Moretti of a witch-hunt.

He denied the allegations, saying he was merely acting on the recommendations of his staff to investigate possible mistakes by the magistrates who oversaw the seizures of the phone records.

The order to stand trial was issued by the investigation commission of the Law Court of the Republic in Paris (CJR), which hears cases of alleged wrongdoing by serving ministers.

But his lawyers, Christophe Ingrain and Remi Lorrain, said they had already appealed against the move.

“The order no longer exists,” they told reporters as they exited the CJR building.

Dupond-Moretti was not present.

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