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'Rapist' mayor released after grandson's plea

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'Rapist' mayor released after grandson's plea
The Courthouse in Grasse. Photo: DICOMM, French Ministry of Justice
10:22 CEST+02:00

A French court has ordered the release of Christian Iacono, who was given a nine-year prison sentence for raping his grandson Gabriel. For years, Gabriel maintained his grandfather raped him before spectacularly retracting his accusations.

In February, French student Gabriel Iacono went on a hunger strike to secure the release of his 77-year-old grandfather who had been jailed for rape in 2009.

21-year-old Gabriel spent two days in front of the courthouse in the French town of Grasse, subsisting on a diet of water and orange juice. He stopped his hunger strike when he obtained a hearing with prosecutors in Grasse.

But his battle really came to end on Tuesday when the court agreed to release his grandfather.

The lawyer representing the former mayor of Vence, Christian Iacono, yesterday welcomed the decision. 

"He will be released on April 5," said lawyer Gérard Baudoux in an interview with AFP, adding that he was determined to "continue efforts to obtain the recognition of his client’s innocence."

Gabriel accused his grandfather of raping him as a child and maintained his accusations for eleven years. The 2009 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.

But in May last year, Gabriel changed his mind and retracted the accusations against his grandfather. He said he still believed he was raped as a child but not by his grandfather. 

"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 told Nice-Matin.

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