In a move that could keep Maurice Papon out of prison for the rest of his life, a court ruled Friday that the former Vichy official can walk free during his trial for allegedly sending French Jews to Nazi death camps.
The families of Holocaust victims were outraged at the decision, which freed the former Cabinet minister from prison on the third day of his trial. Under French law, he will remain free even if he is convicted until all appeals have been heard, a process that could take years.
The court noted Papon’s age - 87 - and his health in ordering his release.
Papon, a former police supervisor for the Bordeaux region in the pro-Nazi Vichy regime, is charged with ordering the deportation of 1,690 Jews, including 223 children, from the southwestern French city.