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France ordered to pay drug traffickers damages

The European Court of Human Rights ordered France on Thursday to pay €5,000 each in compensation to three drug traffickers for breaching their rights after they were caught shipping three tonnes of pure cocaine across the Atlantic.

France ordered to pay drug traffickers damages
The European Court of Human Rights on June 27th ordered France to pay compensation to three drug traffickers. File photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Thursday that the traffickers' human rights had been breached because the French authorities did not put the crew of the Panama-registered freighter "Junior" immediately before a judge after they had been escorted to Brest in Britanny.

Intercepted off the coast of Africa in 2008, the "Junior" took 18 days to reach the western port. The crew were then placed in custody for two days before being put before a judge who decided to extend their detention.

That was a breach of their rights, the ECHR's judges decided, because the French authorities could have been able to ensure a hearing as soon as the "Junior" reached shore.

Seven members of the ship's crew were sentenced in 2012 to prison sentences of between 10 and 25 years for their role in shipping a cargo with an estimated street value in excess of 100 million euros ($130 million) from Brazil to Algeria.

Their convictions are currently being reviewed at an ongoing appeal hearing.

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DRUGS

French minister calls for Eurovision winner to be disqualified if singer fails drug test

France's Europe minister on Monday called for "total transparency" over speculation that one of Italy's victorious Eurovision contestants used cocaine during the song contest, saying it should be grounds for disqualification if confirmed.

French minister calls for Eurovision winner to be disqualified if singer fails drug test
France's entry, Barbara Pravi, said she didn't care whether Måneskin had used drugs or not. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

Damiano David, the outlandish vocalist for Italian rockers Måneskin, has agreed to take a drug test after video footage appeared to show him snorting something from a table backstage during Saturday’s contest.

“I think there needs to be no doubt here, and total transparency,” Europe Minister Clement Beaune, who attended the show in Rotterdam, told RMC radio. “If there is a problem, there are penalties… Provisions are made for sanctioning measures, including potential disqualification in case of problems.” 

French hopes had been riding high on singer Barbara Pravi, who was a bookmakers’ favourite to end France’s 44-year Eurovision drought with her
moody ballad “Voila.”

But she was edged out at the last minute by a surge in public votes for Måneskin, with a final tally of 524 to Pravi’s 499.

“I don’t want to be a sore loser,” Beaune said, but “in terms of image, we can’t let people think that such competitions can result in such behaviour.”

The president of France’s public broadcasting group, however, said Monday that France would not contest its second-place finish, no matter the speculation over David’s backstage antics.

“France has absolutely no intention to lodge an appeal,” France Televisions chief Delphine Ernotte told the Parisien newspaper. “The vote was quite clearly in Italy’s favour — it didn’t steal its
victory and that’s what matters,” she said.

Pravi herself said she was not interested in the speculation.

“What’s true is that they were chosen by both the public and the jury. Afterwards, if they use drugs or they put their underwear on backwards or whatever… it’s not my problem,” she told France 2 television on Sunday.

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