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CRIME

Egypt sentences 6 inmates for beating Frenchman to death

An Egyptian court on Sunday handed down seven-year prison sentences to six men convicted of beating to death jailed Frenchman Eric Lang in 2013.

Egypt sentences 6 inmates for beating Frenchman to death
French teacher Eric Lang, who died on September 13, 2013 in a police station in Qasr el-Nil, Egypt. Photo: Eric Lang Family/AFP

The 49-year-old, who taught French in Cairo, died after a beating in a cell on September 13th, having been detained in a police station because he did not have a valid visa.

According to the prosecution's case, six inmates in his cell had beaten him to death. They were convicted on Sunday of “assault leading to death”.

A defendants' lawyer had called into question the prosecution's case, arguing the autopsy showed he had been beaten for more than six hours with a rod and electric cables, suggesting police involvement.

Lang's mother and sister had also cast doubts on the official account, and filed complaints against police officials over the failure to rescue him.

He had been detained during a tense time in Cairo, when police and the military had been out in force to quash protests by Islamist supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi.

The verdict on Sunday comes as Egypt fends off accusations of police involvement in the death of Italian student Giulio Regeni, whose badly mutilated body as found after he disappeared in Cairo in January.

Egypt has denied police were involved in Regeni's death.

 

CRIME

French court convicts 8 for stealing Banksy from Paris terror attack site

A French court on Thursday convicted eight men for the theft and handling of a Banksy painting paying homage to the victims of the 2015 attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris.

French court convicts 8 for stealing Banksy from Paris terror attack site

Three men in their 30s who admitted to the 2019 theft were given prison sentences, one of four years and two of three, although they will be able to serve them wearing electronic tracking bracelets rather than behind bars.

Another man, a 41-year-old millionaire lottery winner and street art fan accused of being the mastermind of the heist, was given three years in jail for handling stolen goods after judges found the main allegation unproven. His sentence will also be served with a bracelet.

Elsewhere in the capital, the defence was making its final arguments in the trial of the surviving suspects in the 2015 Paris attacks themselves, with a verdict expected on June 29.

‘Acted like vultures’ 

British street artist Banksy painted his “sad girl” stencil on the metal door of the Bataclan in memory of the 90 people killed there on November 13th, 2015.

A white van with concealed number-plates was seen stopping on January 26, 2019 in an alleyway running alongside the central Paris music venue.

Many concertgoers fled via the same alley when the Bataclan became the focal point of France’s worst ever attacks since World War II, as Islamic State group jihadists killed 130 people at a string of sites across the capital.

On the morning of the theft, three masked men climbed out of the van, cut the hinges with angle grinders powered by a generator and left within 10 minutes, in what an investigating judge called a “meticulously prepared” heist.

Prosecutor Valerie Cadignan told the court earlier this month that the perpetrators had not sought to debase the memory of the attack victims, but “being aware of the priceless value of the door were looking to make a profit”.

She said the thieves “acted like vultures, like people who steal objects without any respect for what they might represent”.

During the trial, Bataclan staff said the theft sparked “deep indignation”, adding that the painted door was a “symbol of remembrance that belongs to everyone, locals, Parisians, citizens of the world”.

Investigators pieced together the door’s route across France and into Italy, where it was found in June 2020 on a farm in Sant’Omero, near the Adriatic coast.

Three men involved in transporting the door were each jailed for 10 months, while a 58-year-old Italian man who owns a hotel where it was temporarily stored received a six-month suspended sentence.

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