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CRIMINAL

French prisoner escapes after hostage grab

A well-known robber with links to organised crime on Saturday blasted his way out of jail with explosives and took five staff hostage in northern France, officials said.

French prisoner escapes after hostage grab
Sequedin prison. Photo: Lille National Orchestra

Police and helicopters were trying to track the man, who was armed, after his brazen escape from the prison in the town of Sequedin.

Local administrative officials said the prisoner used explosives to blast through an airlock security door before making his way out of the facility with five staff hostages.

A source close to the staff said the blast had caused significant damage to the interior of the prison.

The prisoner, identified by state prosecutors as Redoine Faid, quickly released four of the hostages and fled in a car with one of them. The car was later abandoned on a highway south of Lille and set on fire.

The prisoner also freed his final hostage and then got into a second vehicle which is currently been tracked by police, local officials said.

"It happened very quickly, it was clearly very well organised, we are still busy putting the facts together," a local administrative official said.

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ENVIRONMENT

France to punish ‘eco-cide’ with prison up to 10 years

France will make serious intentional damage to the environment punishable by up to 10 years in prison as part of planned "eco-cide" law, government ministers said in remarks published Sunday.

France to punish 'eco-cide' with prison up to 10 years
Barbara Pompili. Photo: AFP

The law was one recommendation from a Citizens' Convention for the Climate, a group created by the government a year ago, bringing together 150 people from the French population to discuss the environment.

An “eco-cide” offence would be sanctioned by up to 4.5 million euros in fines or up to 10 years in prison in cases of “intentional violation” of environmental laws, Justice Minister Eric Dupont-Moretti and Ecological Transition Minister Barbara Pompili told the JDD weekly.

“We are going to create a general pollution offence,” Dupont-Moretti said.

“Punishment will be staggered according to a perpetrator's intentions.”

The aim was to fine violators of environmental laws “up to 10 times the profit they would have generated by throwing waste into the river”, he said.

 

The French constitution did not allow the qualification of such actions as “crimes”, just offences, Dupont-Moretti said.

France will also add an offence called “endangering the environment” to its statute books, Pompili said, under which potential offenders could be punished even before committing acts of illegal pollution.

Environmental expertise within the French judiciary will be beefed up to allow courts to improve their handling of pollution cases and civil claims, including by creating special environmental jurisdictions, Dupont-Moretti said.

The citizens' convention has submitted 149 proposals to cut greenhouse gas emissions to President Emmanuel Macron, who said he would convert 146 of them into government policy.

 
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