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France

Madagascar lynching victim pleads innocence with last words

© Facebook profile photo of Sébastien Judalet

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-10-08

An audio recording has revealed how Frenchman Sébastien Judalet, killed in a mob lynching in Madagascar on Thursday after being accused of murdering a local boy, tried to convince the angry crowd of his innocence moments before he died.

A French man pleaded his innocence moments before being killed at the hands of an angry mob on a Madagascan tourist island, an audio recording of his final moments has revealed.

Sébastien Judalet, from Montreuil, near Paris, was one of two Europeans killed on Thursday by local residents in a lynching on the island of Nosy Be, off the northwest coast of Madagascar.

The mob, said by witnesses to number in the hundreds, suspected the three men of the murder of an eight-year-old local boy.

Judalet and the other European, later named as Franco-Italian Roberto Gianfala, were beaten by the crowd before their bodies were burned on the popular Ambatoloaka beach.

The uncle of the dead boy was also killed and burned later the same day.

In an audio recording taken shortly before his death, excerpts of which were published by French daily Le Parisien, members of the crowd can be heard interrogating Judalet and accusing him of being a paedophile.

Judalet desperately tries to convince the mob he is innocent.

‘I am telling the truth, strictly the truth’

“I am the victim of a conspiracy,” he says. “I do not like children, absolutely not, and I don’t like people who have sex with children.”

A man then asks him: “You don’t like children?”, to which Judalet, stammering, responds: “I love children, yes, I have a little girl.”

In tears, he makes a final plea to the crowd: "I’m telling the truth, strictly the truth.”

A single father of an 11-year-old girl, Judalet, 38, worked as a bus driver for the Paris public transport company RATP.

His passport shows he made frequent visits to Madagascar, a place he “loved”, according to Manuel, a colleague.

“This is a person who loves children. It’s impossible that he would harm them,” he told French radio station RTL.

Also speaking to RTL, a childhood friend, Isabelle, said Judalet had simply been “in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

Along with being Madagascar's main tourist magnet, Nosy Be is also notorious for being a hotbed of sex tourism.

About 700 French people live on the island out of a population of around 40,000.

French police have opened a murder investigation into Judalet’s death.

Date created : 2013-10-07

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