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Suspected War Criminal Free on Bail

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Suspected war criminal Paul Touvier was released on $10,000 bail Wednesday, despite the urging of the state prosecution that he be held in jail pending trial on charges of crimes against humanity.

The decision to accept his bail request was made by a closed court, which gave no reason.

But the suspect’s passport was confiscated, he was barred from talking to the news media and he must report to the police once a week.

Touvier, who headed the pro-Nazi militia in Lyon during World War II, was twice tried in absentia and condemned to death in 1946 and 1947. But the police never apprehended him.

He and his wife, reportedly aided by elements of the Catholic Church, hid out in various convents until 1971, when he was secretly pardoned by President Georges Pompidou.

Touvier remained a free man until new evidence led to reopening his case. He was arrested in May 1989 hiding at a convent in Nice.

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