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French Court Rejects Appeal of War Criminal Klaus Barbie

June 6, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The French Supreme Court rejected Friday an appeal by Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie, known as the “Butcher of Lyon,” of a life sentence he received last year.

A criminal court in Lyon sentenced Barbie to life imprisonment on July 4, 1987, on 17 counts of war crimes committed when he served as Gestapo chief in the city from 1942 to 1944.

Barbie, 74, was found guilty of deporting Jewish children to the Auschwitz death camp, arresting thousands of the city’s Jews and the arbitrary torture of countless other people.

His lawyers sought to overturn the verdict on 14 legal technicalities, but the court ruled Friday that there had been no violation of judicial procedure during the eight-week trial.

The main argument of Barbie’s lawyers was that having been tried previously for war crimes, he should not have been tried a second time.

Barbie, who fled to South America after the war, was sentenced to death in absentia in 1952 and 1954 by French courts. The death sentence was nullified by the statute of limitations and the fact that France abolished the death penalty in 1981.

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