Ten of 17 defendants were convicted yesterday of raping and abusing a group of children in a high-profile pedophilia case that had riveted France for weeks.
Sentences for the defendants convicted of participating in group rapes of children in the northern town of Outreau between 1995 and 2000 ranged from a suspended 18-month sentence to 20 years in prison.
Seven defendants were acquitted by the court in the Pas-de-Calais region.
Central to the case was Myriam Delay, an unemployed mother and key defendant, who admitted to sexually abusing children. Based on her accusations, 13 other defendants were kept behind bars for up to three years. She was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.
During testimony on May 19, Delay announced she had wrongly accused others. Then, a few days later, on May 24, Delay retracted her testimony and re-accused those whose names she had cleared, saying the entire group had acted together and "ruined children's lives."
The case, involving allegations of sexual abuse, torture and bestiality, has shattered the lives of the defendants. One committed suicide while behind bars; others lost custody of their children.
Delay, her husband Thierry and two neighbors -- Aurelie and David Delplaque -- admitted during questioning to abusing children, officials said. Delay's husband was sentenced to 20 years in prison. The Delplaques were sentenced to four and six years in prison, respectively.
More than 100 witnesses, including police officers, doctors and some of the 18 alleged victims -- ages 3 to 18 at the time -- appeared in court for trial that started May 4.
The Delay's 10-year-old son was among the witnesses and alleged that he had been raped by most of the defendants and had been filmed in scenes involving pedophilia and bestiality.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
‘SUICIDE’: Media reports said Park Won-soon went missing on Thursday after a staff member filed a sexual harassment claim against him this week Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, viewed as a potential candidate for the 2022 presidential election, was found dead of an apparent suicide hours after he was reported missing, police said, adding that he was the subject of an undisclosed investigation. In a note he is thought to have left behind on his desk, Park offered his apologies. “I thank everyone who was with me in my life. I apologize to my family for only making them suffer from pain,” according to the note that was released by his office yesterday. Park, in his letter, asked to be cremated and have his remains spread