French double murderer captured after 20 years on the run

French double murderer captured after 20 years on the run
Illustration photo: AFP
A French fugitive convicted of a double murder was arrested after 20 years on the run when a storm damaged his yacht in waters off Indonesia's Sulawesi island, police said on Thursday.

Thierry Ascione, 62, and another French national made an emergency landing in the Talaud islands between the Philippines and Indonesia on October 3rd to seek help for repairing the boat.

Authorities nabbed them for violating immigration rules, said local police chief Lendi Hutabarat.

“The navigation system (on the yacht) was damaged due to strong waves,” Hutabarat told AFP.

Ascione was hiding in the boat when the police questioned and arrested his compatriot, who was found wandering around the island trying to buy a SIM card.

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The police later raided the boat and found Ascione without a passport.

The two were handed over to immigration authorities. They are currently in Manado, North Sulawesi.

Ascione told officials that his passport was stolen while in transit in the Philippines, said Novly TN Momongan, the local immigration office chief from the neighbouring Sangihe islands.

Paris has formally requested Ascione’s extradition to Jakarta but the legal process might take months since the two countries have no extradition treaty, according to a source close to the case.

Ascione was found guilty of the murder in 1991 of two French nationals who owned a restaurant in Guatemala.

He was arrested in 1995 in Roissy airport in Paris and remained in custody until 2000. He fled six months before his trial began.

A court in Paris tried him in absentia and sentenced him to life in prison in 2001.

Ascione had been on the run since, in various countries including the Philippines, until his arrest in Indonesia.

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