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Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2011-06-20

Corsican nationalist Yvan Colonna has been convicted for a third time of the 1998 murder of senior French official Claude Erignac and sentenced to life in prison.

A Corsican nationalist who has already been convicted twice for the murder of a senior French official in Corsica in 1998 was found guilty for a third time on Monday.

Yvan Colonna was convicted of killing Claude Erignac, who was a prefect, or governor, of the French island and its highest-ranking state representative. Colonna was sentenced to life in prison, both in his original trial in 2007 and his appeal in 2009.

The previous sentence was overturned, however, by France's highest court over a minor procedural error in June 2010. 

The 51-year-old shepherd, who has been in custody since 2003, has always pleaded not guilty to the charges. “I am innocent!” he shouted as his conviction was read out on Monday. The verdict came after a six-week-long trial in Paris.
Erignac was gunned down on his way to a concert in Ajaccio. His murder was the most spectacular attack in some 30 years of low-level separatist violence on the island.
Colonna acknowledged during his first trial that he was a nationalist. His defence team has repeatedly described the case as a "travesty of justice" and accused judges of being on a mission to find the defendant guilty.

Date created : 2011-06-20


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