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Student: 'I won't eat until granddad I accused of rape is freed'

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16:44 CET+01:00

A French student whose politician grandfather was jailed for raping him as a child has now gone on hunger strike to try to secure his release, after retracting the accusations.

 

Gabriel Iacono, 21, is now subsisting on a diet of water and orange juice outside the courthouse in Grasse, south central France, beside a sign that reads: "Hunger strike for the immediate and permanent release of my grandfather, whom I have falsely accused and who is completely innocent," according to the le Parisien newspaper.

 

Christian Iacono, now 77, a former mayor of Vence, was jailed for nine years in 2009 for raping his grandson as a young boy, a conviction that was upheld on appeal last year. The conviction was based on medical reports detailing injuries on the boy's body and on his testimony, which was viewed as credible by experts at the time.

 

For eleven years, Gabriel Iacono maintained his accusations. Last year, however, he had a change of heart, telling the Nice-Matin newspaper that while he still believed he was raped, he no longer believed his grandfather was the assailant:

 

"I can still see this scene before me, but I no longer see it as possible. I might have transposed my grandfather onto someone else," he said, adding that he "won't be able to live until my grandfather is cleared."

 

A judge in Grasse last week recommended the release of Iacono, but this was blocked after prosecutors appealed the decision. Judges in Aix-en-Provence will reconsider the decision to release the former mayor on 13th March.

 

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