Chirac halts pardons in sex and race crimes taken off pardon list

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The Independent Online

President Jacques Chirac refused yesterday to grant pardons to all race-hate and some sexual offenders as France struggled to come to terms with a rash of horrific crimes.

M. Chirac closed his list of presidential pardons and reduced sentences for the 14 July national day to anyone guilty of a racial offence or sexual attack on children, and any sex offender sentenced to more than seven years in jail. His decision follows the arrest of a man suspected of murdering up to 30 young women in France and Belgium since 1987 and an anti-Semitic attack on a 23-year-old woman and her baby in Paris.

The Prime Minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, appealed to the French nation yesterday to resist an upsurge of racist and anti-Semitic crimes.