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.

"/> 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.

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JUSTICE

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

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.

POLICE

Blundering judge frees notorious ‘drug ring’

Police officers in France were left fuming after a blundering judge got in a muddle with his calendar and accidentally released ten alleged members of a notorious drug ring.

Blundering judge frees notorious 'drug ring'
File photo: Mike Fitz

The calamitous error occurred when the magistrate at Creteil criminal court, outside Paris confused two dates in his calendar which led him to believe that the suspects had to be released back onto the streets because it would have been illegal to continue detaining them.

According to French daily Le Figaro the drug ring, known as 'Shitland', had established a "reign of terror" over an estate in Boullereaux, which has one of the highest rates for the trafficking of cannabis in the Paris area.

The gang, who had reportedly graffitied 'Bienvenue à Shitland!' (Welcome to Shitland) onto the walls of the estate, are accused of robbing residents' of their shopping on their way home from the market and demanding that neighbours pay them €10 to use the lift in their block of flats. 

They are due to face trial in April and police believed it was necessary to keep them in custody until then.

Officers were said to be "furious" over the judge's gaffe.

"We aren't blaming magistrates but this blunder will have a big impact. The investigation teams have put everything into this case over the past two years," Emmanuel Roux, the head of the national French Police Union told Le Figaro.

Police fear the gang may now never show up in court for the trial and are concerned about the knock-on effects of the men being allowed to roam the streets.
 
"The worst thing of all is that they will be able to walk around right under the noses of the people who witnessed their acts. They will threaten them and put all kinds of pressure on all kinds of good people with no guarantees that they will all attend their trial in April," said one police officer working in Val-de-Marne.   
 
Some police officers from the police union Alliance even pointed the finger at Justice Minister Christine Taubira. "It would be good if justice was applied to the same extent that it is demanded from police officers," Jean-Claude Delage, secretary general of the police union Alliance told Le Figaro.
 
If found guilty at trial, the gang members can expect sever jail sentences. However the magistrate's union said the case has been "severely compromised" thanks to the judge's error.
 
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