French minister's brother jailed

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The Independent Online

A brother of French Justice Minister Rachida Dati was sentenced yesterday to eight months in prison for drug trafficking.

Omar Dati, one of Dati's 11 brothers and sisters, was found guilty of acquiring and selling cannabis in 2004 and 2005. In 2001 he was sentenced to a four-month suspended jail sentence for heroin trafficking.

Omar, 36, is the second brother of Dati to be convicted on drugs charges. In August, an appeals court sentenced her brother Jamal to one year in prison for consuming and selling heroin.

Dati, a qualified judge who is the daughter of a Moroccan bricklayer and an illiterate Algerian housewife, has been labelled a symbol of President Nicolas Sarkozy's ethnically diverse "cabinet of openness".

But despite strong support from Sarkozy, Dati has come under fire from magistrates unions over a crime bill, which imposes tougher sentences for repeat offenders, and the planned closure of dozens of small court houses over the next few years.