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Chirac apologizes for mishandled pedophilia case

[JURIST] French President Jacques Chirac [official profile] offered apologies [statement, in French] Monday to 13 people who were wrongly convicted of pedophilia and spent 16-39 months in jail. Chirac called the convictions [JURIST report] a "judicial disaster without precedent" and said he would personally see that a thorough investigation is conducted and charges brought against the appropriate people. Six of the convictions were overturned by an appeals court [JURIST report] last week and the other seven individuals were acquitted last year. Justice Minister Pascal Clement [official profile, in French] previously apologized for the way the case was handled and opened an investigation into the matter, and French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin [BBC profile] has vowed to compensate the 13 falsely accused. The accusations against them were brought by a woman who was later sent to prison along with her husband and another couple on charges of raping the woman's children. Reuters has more; France's Le Monde has local coverage [in French].

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