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Teen hunter charged in France over hiker’s death

A 17-year-old girl has been charged with involuntary manslaughter over the death of a French hiker shot during a boar hunt at the weekend.

A teenager has been charged with accidently killing someone during a hunt in France.
A teenager has been charged with accidently killing someone during a hunt in France. (Photo by Pascal POCHARD-CASABIANCA / AFP)

French prosecutors said on Tuesday that they had charged a 17-year-old girl with involuntary manslaughter over the death of a hiker during a hunt for wild boar, a tragedy that sparked fresh calls for tougher rules over a cherished pastime.

The teenager presented herself to authorities on Saturday after the victim, a 25-year-old woman who was walking with a friend along a marked trail near Aurillac in central France, died after being hit by a stray bullet.

After being initially treated for shock, the teen was taken into custody for questioning on Sunday before being released, as investigators questioned others in the hunting group to determine if she was indeed the one who took the fatal shot.

While France’s love of its rural heritage runs deep, the tragedy pushed a debate over the divisive tradition into the ongoing presidential campaign, with several rivals of President Emmanuel Macron demanding greater oversight.

Several politicians have called for prohibiting hunting on weekends or during school vacations, as several other European countries have done for years.

READ MORE Where do the French presidential candidates stand on hunting?

Macron will likely face questions over the case at his scheduled appearance at the Paris Agriculture Show on Saturday, a key stop for candidates looking to court the rural vote.

“It’s a tragedy that forces us to ask questions,” Macron’s Environment Minister Barbara Pompili said on Monday, adding that it was legitimate to ask “how a girl so young can find herself with a weapon in her hands.”

Asked about implementing hunt-free days in national forests and other areas, she said: “We have to think about how to reconcile hunters with everyone else who enjoys nature.”

France is one of the few European countries that do not prohibit hunting on certain days during the season, instead allowing hunters to shoot at all times as long as they alert others of their activity — a requirement decried by critics as insufficient.

A petition last autumn seeking to outlaw hunting on Sundays and Wednesdays, when many schools do not have class, garnered 120,000 signatures and prompted the Senate to create a panel to assess its safety.

According to French daily Le Monde, citing France’s biodiversity office, there have been 3,325 hunting accidents in France since 2000, resulting in 421 deaths.

Member comments

  1. ” …. allowing hunters to shoot at all times as long as they alert others of their activity.”
    How very French. What a stupid bit of legislation is this? The I live in a wooded valley and the only ‘alert’ I get is when I hear them which is a bit late, really.

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HEALTH

French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

After the seismic decision of the US Supreme Court on Friday, French MPs are calling for the right to abortion in France to be protected by the constitution.

French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

Lawmakers from French President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party are to propose a parliamentary bill on Saturday that would enshrine the right to abortion in the constitution. 

The move comes after the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 “Roe v. Wade” decision on Friday.

“In France we guarantee and advance the rights of women. We protect them,” said Aurore Bergé – the head of Renaissance in the Assemblée nationale and one of the key sponsors of the bill. 

Another co-sponsor, Marie-Pierre Rixain tweeted: “What happens in elsewhere cannot happen in France. We must protect the right to abortion for future generations. 

In 2018 and 2019, Emmanuel Macron’s party – which back then was known as La République en Marche – refused to back bills proposed by left-wing party, La France Insoumise, to enshrine abortion rights into the constitution. 

In a Saturday interview with France Inter, Bergé suggested that the success of Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National during parliamentary elections earlier this month had created a sense of newfound urgency. 

She described the far-right MPs as “fierce opponents of women’s access to abortion” and said it was important “to take no risk” in securing it. 

READ MORE France’s Macron condemns US abortion ruling

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has come out in support of the bill. 

The left-wing opposition block, NUPES, also backs it and had planned to propose an identical piece legislation of its own on Monday. 

Macron is seeking parliamentary allies to pass reforms after his formation lost its majority in legislative elections earlier this month.

The legal timeframe to terminate a pregnancy in France was extended from 12 to 14 weeks in the last legislature.

Changing the constitution requires the National Assembly and Senate to adopt the same text, then a three-fifths majority of parliament sitting in congress. The other option is a referendum.

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