French court halts sale of murder book

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A Paris court ordered a halt to sales of a book alleging two former cabinet ministers ordered the murder of a member of parliament almost four years ago.

The civil court, responding to an appeal by former defence minister Francois Leotard for censorship of the book about the death of Yann Piat in February 1994, ordered a suspension of distribution and sales until 24 October.

The book alleges that Mr Leotard and former urban affairs minister Jean- Claude Gaudin ordered Ms Piat's killing by a secret hit squad after she uncovered plans to sell plots of army land to the Mafia. Piat, who campaigned against Mafia drug traffickers, was shot dead in her car at night on a deserted Riviera road by a gunmen on a motorbike.

The book, by Andre Rougeot and Jean-Michel Verne, has sold tens of thousands of copies and sparked political uproar in France.