PARIS (Feb. 14)
Three French Nazi collaborators whose death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment by President Charles deGaulle, have been released after serving 20 year prison terms, the Justice Ministry confirmed today.
The life sentences of Jean Barbier, Jacques Vasseur and Joseph Cortial were reduced to 20 years by deGaulle’s successor, former President Georges Pompidou. A Justice Ministry spokesman said that “after completing their sentences there no was no possible reason to keep them in fail.”
Barbier, now 64, was sentenced to death in 1966 for having led the French gestapo faction in Grenoble. He had also been a member of the Waffen SS and served on the Russian front during World War II. He was arrested in 1963 after hiding out for 17 years under a false name. He was released from prison last August.
Vasseur and Cortial, also in their middle-sixties, were originally sentenced to death for serving as gestapo agents. As such, they arrested Jews and resistance fighters for deportation to death camps.