Why convicted French politicians nearly always escape going to jail

Corruption — Analysis

On Monday December 5th former French president Nicolas Sarkozy began an appeal hearing following his conviction for corruption in the so-called 'Paul Bismuth' or phone-tapping case. At the original trial the ex-head of state was given a jail sentence but has not served a single night in prison. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan explains why it is that French politicians who are convicted in corruption cases so very rarely serve jail time despite the heavy prison sentences that such offences can attract.

French justice minister jumps on far-right bandwagon in row over prison 'game show'

France — Opinion

A video showing prisoners go-karting and taking part in other competitions during an event imitating a popular reality TV show at France's second-biggest prison has caused a political row. On Saturday, justice minister Éric Dupond-Moretti waded into the controversy by promising an “investigation” into the event held at Fresnes prison south of Paris in July.  It was organised by the prison's authorities and had been approved by senior managers in the prisons department, part of the Ministry of Justice, while officials insist it received no public funding. In this opinion article, Camille Polloni says it only took a few politicians on the far-right to express outrage over the event for the justice minister to overlook the facts and to dance to their political tune.

Hostage situation at high-security prison in France ends

France — Link

An inmate at the jail at Conde-sur-Sarthe in north-west France who had taken two guards hostage and injured one of them, surrendered after negotiations with authorities,  the justice minister said.

French-Iranian academic temporarily released in Iran

International — Link

Fariba Adelkhah is now with her family in the Iranian capital, Tehran, her lawyer has said.

Freed French researcher details trying Iran jail conditions

International — Link

French social sciences researcher Roland Marchal, 64, who was released by Iran in a prisoner exchange last month after spending nine months in jail on spying charges, has described the harsh conditions of isolation he was held in after his arrest and that of fellow researcher Fariba Adelkhah, who remains in a Tehran prison.

Armed gang free prisoner in south-east France

France — Link

The accomplices knocked a female guard to the ground and shot at the van in the town of Tarascon.

Notorious thief escapes from Paris jail by helicopter

France — Link

Rédoine Faïd, jailed for robbery in which a police officer died, was aided by armed men causing diversion outside prison while helicopter landed.

Tariq Ramadan rape case divides France's Muslims


Over the past two weeks a number of Muslim figures and organisations in France, together with anti-racist militants, have become increasingly vocal in calling for the release from preventive detention of prominent Islamic intellectual, scholar and preacher Tariq Ramadan, a professor of contemporary Islamic studies at the University of Oxford, who was earlier this month placed under investigation for two rapes. His supporters argue that he is subject to unusually harsh treatment, that his state of health has not been properly taken into account, with some also throwing doubt on the veracity of the accounts of his alleged victims. But, as Louise Fessard reports, the support leant to Ramadan has opened deep divisions among French Muslims, with questions raised over the motivations of the campaigners.

French prison inmates under investigation for plotting terror attacks

France — Link

Two men, one of French nationality the other from Cameroon, due to be released this month from Fresnes prison near Paris after serving sentences for armed robbery and petty crime, have been placed under investigation for preparing to carry out terrorist attacks in France.

French billionaire Serge Dassault's 'foot soldier' jailed for attempted murder


On Wednesday May 18th Younès Bounouara was jailed for 15 years after being found guilty of trying to kill a man whose secret recording helped expose alleged vote buying by industrialist Serge Dassault in the town where the latter was mayor for many years. The verdict will come as a major embarrassment for Dassault, who has had close ties with Bounouara for more than 20 years. The two men are currently under investigation over the alleged system of vote buying. Yann Philippin reports.

Prisoner in France successfully sues state over sharing cell with smokers

France — Link

The non-smoking man shared a cell of around 20 square metres with up to six fellow inmates, several of whom were smokers.

French prison guards warn Marseille jail has become a 'holiday camp'

France — Link

Inmates of Baumettes prison near Marseille ran a Facebook page that showed them posing with mobile phones, cannabis and fistfuls of cash.

French far-right politician given jail sentence after 'ape' jibe

France — Link

Anne-Sophie Leclere is given a nine-month jail term and a 50,000-euro fine for likening France's black justice minister to a chimpanzee.

French bank accused of rigging evidence against 'rogue trader' Jérôme Kerivel

France — Link

Jailed trader says Société Générale edited tape of interview they carried out with him after his losses were uncovered.

French trader Jerome Kerviel refuses to go to jail

France — Link

After Rome walk, convicted trader is refusing to set foot in France until President Hollande responds to plea for immunity for key witnesses.