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CRIME

French bus driver left brain dead after attack for refusing passengers

A bus driver in France was declared brain dead Monday after being attacked by several people he reportedly refused to let on board because they had no tickets and were not wearing face masks as required.

French bus driver left brain dead after attack for refusing passengers
Photo: AFP

A police source in Bayonne, near the ritzy Atlantic resort of Biarritz in southwestern France, said five people were now in custody over the incident on Sunday evening.

The source said the driver, in his fifties, tried to prevent a man, who was not wearing a face mask, from boarding the bus with his dog.

The driver also asked four other passengers, who had already mounted the bus without masks, to get off.

The driver is said to have stepped out of the bus and was subsequently hit in the head by one of the group, according to the police source.

The assault resulted in a serious head injury.

The driver was unconscious when brought to hospital, and doctors declared him brain dead on Monday.

Regional bus services were disrupted Monday after several of the driver's colleagues refused to work in protest against the brutal attack.

The drivers present at the protest said the regional transport network company Chronoplus had not done enough to ensure the safety for their drivers.

The police have not officially released a statement about the incident or what sparked it.

Masks are mandatory on public transport across France. Everyone travelling by train, plane, bus or taxi must wear a facial mask, according to the rules set in place by the government to prevent a resurgence in the number of coronavirus cases.

A man in his thirties was arrested on Sunday and four more people were taken into custody on Monday, said the prosecuting service.

Regional bus services were disrupted Monday after several of the driver's colleagues refused to work in protest against the brutal attack.

Bayonne Mayor Jean-Rene Etchegaray addressed employees of the bus company on Monday.

“We have witnessed a particularly violent and barbaric act,” he said, calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice and for a punishment “severe enough” to serve as a warning to others.

Member comments

  1. The acceptance of the citizens climate convention’s recommendation is most heartening. Here in the UK, Extinction Rebellion have a key aim to set up such a group/groups for a similar purpose.

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CRIME

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.

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