Man jailed for fatal push at Paris Metro station

A 21-year-old man was sentenced to 15 years behind bars this week for pushing a young women to her death down the stairs of a Paris Metro station. The incident left France shocked and appalled at the time.

Man jailed for fatal push at Paris Metro station
A man was jailed for 15 years this week for pushing a woman down the stairs at a Paris Metro station. Photo Jasper/flickr

Frederic Magave-Marques was found guilty by a Paris court on Thursday of robbery that resulted in death after a fatal incident at Etienne Marcel Metro station in central Paris on December 27th, 2010.

The death of Vy-Anh Nguyen had left France shocked and prompted the then President Nicolas Sarkozy to talk about the affair during his New Year’s day speech in January 2011.

The accused told the court in Paris this week that he had tried to steal a mobile phone from another woman as she walked along the station’s platform.

He said he then ran “like a madman” and accidentally pushed 27-year-old Vy-Anh Nguyen on the staircase as he tried to get away.

But his version of events were disputed by prosecutors who claimed he had robbed the woman of her MP3 player and purposefully shoved her as she tried to stop him from getting away.

Although a damaged set of earphones were found on the victim, the MP3 player has not been traced.

One witness had told police they reported seeing the accused “standing still on his feet” and not, in fact, running away, as he had claimed.

Another witness reported seeing him “put all his power” into the push.

“He pushed her off her feet, and saw her fall backwards,” said Jean-Marc Albert, lawyer for the family, who accused Magave Marques of “intolerable lies”.

Albert also challenged the robber, over his claims not to have heard about Nguyen’s death until weeks later.

“How could you not know? It caused a wave of emotion across the whole of France,” he said.

For his part the accused told judges: “I will always have this on my conscience. I have committed the irreparable.”

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French court orders partial release for convicted Corsican nationalist

A French court on Tuesday ordered the partial release of a Corsican nationalist who has served 24 years in jail for the 1998 murder of a top French official.

French court orders partial release for convicted Corsican nationalist

Under the ruling, Pierre Alessandri will be allowed out of jail to work for a landscaping company in the daytime and will be granted a full conditional release in a year if he behaves well.

The relaxation of Alessandri’s conditions of detention came amid tensions between the Mediterranean island’s pro-autonomy leaders and the French state, after a fellow Corsican detained in the same case was killed in a French prison in March.

Alessandri and a third Corsican detainee were transferred from mainland France to a jail in Corsica in April after the murder of Yvan Colonna.

The Paris appeals court granted Alessandri “a probationary partial release” of 12 months from February 13, the prosecutor-general Remy Heitz said.

If he behaves well, he would then be granted “conditional release” for another ten years, he said.

Alessandri’s lawyer Eric Barbolosi hailed the ruling as a “great relief”.

“For the first time in a court of appeals, the magistrates made a decision based on the criteria necessary for a conditional release, not the particular nature of the case,” he said.

Alessandri had served enough time to be eligible for such a release by 2017, and had already petitioned to be freed three times.

But national anti-terror prosecutors objected, and an appeals court barred his release.

The country’s highest court then quashed one of these decisions, ordering the Paris appeals court to re-examine it.

Colonna, a former goat herder, was announced dead on March 21 after an Islamist extremist who accused him of blasphemy strangled and suffocated him in a prison in the southern town of Arles in mainland France.

He was detained in 2003 after four years on the run, and sentenced in 2007, and then again in 2011, to life in jail over the killing in 1998 of the French government prefect of Corsica, Claude Erignac.

The killing was the most shocking of a series of attacks by pro-independence militant group FLNC.

Alessandri and another nationalist, Alain Ferrandi, had already been sentenced to life in jail in 2003 over the murder.

Ferrandi, who was transferred to the same Corsican jail, has also requested to be released on parole, and a decision is due on February 23rd.

Colonna’s murder sparked violent protests in Corsica.

It galvanised the nationalist movement and led President Emmanuel Macron’s government to offer talks about giving greater political autonomy to the territory.