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Papon, Charged with War Crimes, Now Accused of Algerian Deaths

Maurice Papon, the former French Cabinet member who faces trial for his role in deporting nearly 1,700 Jews to Nazi death camps, has been accused of causing the deaths of dozens of Algerians during pro- independence protests while he was Paris police chief in 1961.

An Algerian rights group known as The Foundation for May 8, 1945, said last week that Papon was responsible for the deaths of more than 100 people when he ordered the repression of a Paris demonstration in October 1961, during the war for Algerian independence from France.

Algeria was granted independence in 1962.

Three people died and 64 were injured in the protest, according to official reports, but about 60 bodies were fished out of the Seine River and dozens more were found hanged in the Bois de Vincennes in eastern Paris in the days and weeks that followed.

An aide to then-Prime Minister Michel Debre has since said that about 100 Algerians died in the protests.

A Bordeaux court ruled last month that Papon, who served as budget minister in the French Cabinet during the 1970s, should be tried for crimes against humanity. Papon, 86, was charged with deporting 1,690 Jews, 223 of them children, while he was secretary general of the Bordeaux region’s local government during Germany’s wartime occupation of France.

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