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Policemen condemned: Prime Minister Fillon disavows Justice Minister Hortefeux

Translated Tuesday 21 December 2010, by Cynthia McKennon and reviewed by Henry Crapo

Francois Fillon said last Monday that policemen convicted in Bobigny had committed "unjustifiable acts," recalling that "the honor of the police" requires "exemplary conduct".

The Prime Minister also called upon everyone "to show reason, moderation and a sense of responsibility". The conviction of seven policemen of Seine-Saint-Denis had resulted in a verbal confrontation between police and magistrates and in a public disagreement between the minister of Interior, Brice Hortefeux, and the minister of Justice, Michel Mercier. "Once the emotion passed, I do not find acceptable that judges and police give the impression that they accuse one other," said Francois Fillon during a closed meeting of departmental prefects.

The head of government used particularly scathing words against the seven police officers, saying they had "been convicted for unjustifiable acts" and that "the honor of the police" requires "exemplary conduct". "The respect due to justice is a cornerstone of the State. The judicial power has the duty of ensuring the coherence of the whole criminal justice system", François Fillon stressed. "Who benefits from the weakening of the State? Certainly not the judiciary, police and certainly, and not least of all, the citizens; the only beneficiaries are the criminals and offenders!" he noted.

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