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France

Sarkozy to release classified documents in Algeria monks case

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-07-07

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has pledged to release classified documents for an inquiry into the deaths of seven French monks in Algeria in 1996. One witness told investigators the Algerian Air Force had killed the monks 'by mistake.'

AFP - President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed Tuesday to find out who was really behind the 1996 massacre of seven French monks, which has been blamed on Islamists.

"I want the truth. Relations between major countries are based on the truth and not on lies," he said, adding that he would release any previously classified documents on the killings that investigators might ask for.

The call came a day after revelations that a French general had told investigators that the Algerian army killed the Catholic monks by mistake and that the French state covered up the blunder.

Critics have long been suspicious of the official French and Algerian view that the Trappist monks were kidnapped and beheaded by the extremist Islamic Group Army (GIA).

The Paris prosecutor's office opened an inquiry in 2004 into the massacre after a civil suit was filed by the family of one of the monks and by a senior member of the monks' order.

Date created : 2009-07-07