PARIS—On Monday 15 Dec., a Paris court handed down its verdict to Antonio Ferrara for his violent, rocket-assisted escape from the French prison of Fresnes in 2003. At that time, a group blew off the prison gate and murdered prison guards with AK47 machine guns.
French authorities lost face after the escape and initiated a wide manhunt. Ferraro was arrested in Spain four months later.
Charged with giving prior signal of the escape, former lawyer of Ferrara, Karim Achoui was sentenced to 7 years in prison. Hocicne Kroziz, a prison officer, was given a 12-year sentence for providing Ferrara with a cell phone and explosives.
At the time of the verdict, 80 military policemen were needed to control the crowd that had gathered to insult the Court President. Ferrara was not present, having refused since 7 Nov. to come to court, claiming the trial was unfair.
Achoui’s condemnation has led to intense controversy in France, some speculating that he is now being punished for his regular defense of gang leaders, often ruining efforts by prosecutors to have them jailed. Mr Spizner, Achoui’s lawyer, commented to the French media that “Nowadays, it’s no good to be Arab and a lawyer at the same time.”
Ferrara is an infamous French outlaw who escaped from a different prison in 1998 where he was jailed for bank-robbery.