Sarkozy's son, 10, is victim of phone death threats

The 10-year-old son of French President Nicolas Sarkozy has received death threats, the interior minister said yesterday.

Michele Alliot-Marie confirmed reports in the media that Louis Sarkozy, the youngest of the French leader's three sons, received several threatening phone calls on a mobile phone registered to his mother, the former first lady Cecilia Sarkozy.

"It's absolutely shocking and revolting," Alliot-Marie told Europe-1 radio. "There are people who are unbalanced, who think they're clever, who want to blackmail (people) and use these kinds of methods."

Police and judicial officials said two men, aged 21 and 22, have been detained and are to be tried next month for allegedly having placed the calls. The two, who have no prior criminal record, have been charged with intimidation, robbery and violating professional secrecy. They face up to five years in prison if convicted, the officials said.

The officials confirmed the details of a report that appeared Monday on the website of news weekly Le Point. It said one of the suspects, an employee of French mobile phone operator Orange, obtained a copy of the company's celebrity client list, which contained Cecilia Sarkozy's number. He passed it on to a friend, a firefighter, who spoke to Louis Sarkozy on several occasions, it is claimed.

Earlier this month, the man told the child "I'm going to kill you", the report said. Officials alerted police investigators, who detained the two suspects in a matter of days. The man placed the calls from a stolen mobile phone and the suspects acted out of stupidity, the officials said.

The wife of Sarkozy's brother has also been the victim of death threats in the past, Le Point said.

A judge granted Nicolas and Cecilia Sarkozy joint custody of Louis when they divorced in October, although Cecilia's lawyer has said the boy lives primarily with his mother.