(AP) -- Maurice Papon, who said he has fled France to avoid being jailed for his role in deporting Jews to Nazi death camps during World War II, was in Switzerland last week, a foreign ministry spokesman said Thursday.This content was published on October 21, 1999 - 16:16
(AP) -- Maurice Papon, who said he has fled France to avoid being jailed for his role in deporting Jews to Nazi death camps during World War II, was in Switzerland last week, a foreign ministry spokesman said Thursday.
Papon was in the western Swiss town of Martigny from October 11 to 15, said spokesman Ruedi Christen, adding that he doesn't know where Papon is now. Papon's lawyer said Wednesday his client might be in the Channel Islands of Jersey or Guernsey.
On October 14, the Swiss foreign ministry issued an order barring Papon from entering Switzerland. The ministry said it had issued the order to avoid any legal complications over Papon's extradition from Switzerland, which is not a member of the European Union.
In a statement Wednesday, Papon, 89, the former high-ranking police official in the pro-Nazi Vichy regime, said he had chosen exile to uphold his honor.
French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin condemned the flight and said France would ask for Papon's extradition if it turns out he is in a foreign country.
Papon was convicted in April 1998 for complicity in crimes against humanity for his role in deporting 1,590 Jews from Bordeaux.
His six-month trial had opened old wounds about French collaboration with the Nazis, and his flight was certain to raise questions about the nation's determination to confront its role in the Holocaust.
His disappearance was a major embarrassment to French officials who did not place controls on Papon's movements or revoke his passport following his conviction.
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