French police deny knowing teens in danger

Two French police officers accused of failing to prevent the deaths of a pair of teenagers a decade ago that triggered nationwide rioting, broke down in tears as they took the stand on Wednesday, but denied knowing the boys were in danger of being electrocuted.

French police deny knowing teens in danger
Two French teens Bouna Traore, 15, and Zyed Benna, 17, were electrocute in 2005, provoking nationwide riots. Photo: AFP

Sebastien Gaillemin and Stephanie Klein denied knowing that a group of teenagers were hiding in an electricity sub-station near their homes in the Clichy-sous-Bois housing project northeast of Paris on October 27, 2005.

Bouna Traore, 15, and Zyed Benna, 17, died after being electrocuted, and a third boy was severely burned.

The court heard transcripts of police radio exchanges from that evening indicating the officers recognised there was a danger.

"They are climbing over to get to the EDF (electric company) site. If they enter the EDF site, I don't give them much of a chance," Gaillemin was heard saying in one recording.

Taking the stand, an emotional Gaillemin said he was only aware the boys were running "towards the site" and was not sure they had actually entered it.

His colleague Klein said: "I did not see an electricity station — only an administrative site."

"I did not react at all," she said, before bursting into tears.

Gaillemin and Klein are being tried for "non-assistance to individuals in danger", a charge carrying a maximum prison term of five years, and fines of up to €75,000 ($79,000).

Supporters of the victims' families said the boys were well-behaved and had only run away because they feared harassment.

The deaths sparked rioting, arson, and running clashes with security forces in Clichy and quickly spread across hundreds of other communities, lasting for three weeks.

The trial is due to conclude on Friday.

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French prosecutors demand jail term for Russian accused of leaving England football fan with brain damage

French prosecutors on Friday called for a 15-year prison sentence for one of two Russians accused of beating a British supporter during Euro 2016, an attack that left him with brain injuries.

French prosecutors demand jail term for Russian accused of leaving England football fan with brain damage
Russian fans light flares at the match against England in 2016.. Photo: AFP

One prosecutor, Christophe Raffin, asked for the “legal maximum… between 14 and 15 years” for Pavel Kossov, who is accused of throwing the first punch at 55-year-old Andrew Bache.

Bache was injured in the violence that broke out before England played Russia in the southern French port city of Marseille on June 11th, 2016.

The second Russian on trial in Aix-en-Provence, Mikhail Ivkine, stands accused of throwing a chair at the victim, with prosecutors asking for a potential suspended sentence of up to five years.

He has claimed he was defending himself.

“No, it wasn't legitimate self-defence, it was illegitimate use of force against Andrew Bache,” Raffin said of the violence.


Police give emergency aid to Andrew Bache following clashes in the city of Marseille. Photo: AFP

The prosecutors said the Russians were part of a group of about 150 men, many with martial arts training, who wrought havoc in Marseille.

Bache, from Portsmouth in southern England, has no memory of the events and is too frail to attend the trial.

His son Harry, who nurses his father, is representing him in court.