Thu, Aug 24, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Seoul seeks French aid over dead babies

AFP AND AP , SEOUL AND TOURS, FRANCE

South Korean police yesterday called for full French cooperation in the investigation of a couple over the discovery of two dead babies at their home in Seoul.

The police want to arrest the wife, Veronique Courjault, 39, on charges of infanticide based on results from a second set of DNA tests, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

An official summons would be sent to Jean-Louis Courjault, 40, and his wife, despite their denial that they were the babies' parents, the South Korean police said.

"We hope France will cooperate fully with our side to resolve the case without a diplomatic dispute," investigator Cheon Hyun-kil told reporters.

He suggested a South Korean investigator could take part in an investigation in France.

The husband contacted police on July 23 to tell them that he had found the babies in a freezer in their Seoul home after returning from a family vacation in France.

Jean-Louis Courjault formerly worked for a US car parts company in Seoul.

The couple are now in the central French city of Tours with their two children. They said on Tuesday they would not return to Seoul.

"It is impossible for us to defend ourselves over there," Jean-Louis Courjault said.

Courjault's lawyer Marc Morin also said there was no real evidence to justify the accusations against his clients.

South Korean investigators angrily refuted the claim.

"Their claim is just ridiculous. Our DNA tests are accurate and we challenge the French couple to come here for questioning," an investigator said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The couple said they could not understand the results of DNA testing performed by South Korean police. The latest tests were performed using a tissue sample stored at a Seoul clinic where the woman had a hysterectomy, Yonhap said.

Veronique Courjault confirmed she underwent a hysterectomy in December 2003 following an infection, and said they were willing to undergo further tests.

Yonhap said South Korean authorities planned to request her extradition through diplomatic channels.

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