French pilots flee Dominican Republic over drug conviction

first_imgPARIS (AP) — Two French pilots facing 20 years in a Dominican Republic prison for cocaine trafficking made a daring escape, sneaking home across the Atlantic.The escape from judicial supervision by pilots Pascal Jean Fauret and Bruno Odos, confirmed by their lawyer and a French official, now puts them in unusual legal limbo.The two had insisted on their innocence since their arrest in 2013. They were barred from leaving the Dominican Republic pending an appeal of this year’s conviction.Their lawyer Jean Reinhart said on Europe-1 radio Tuesday that the two are now in France and at the “disposition” of French justice in hopes of clearing their names.He didn’t give details about how they escaped, but the circumstances reported in French media sound cinematic.BFM television reported that they left on a purported local tourist cruise, then transferred to a larger boat with the help of a French politician, former naval officers and former intelligence agents — “friends” of the pilots from their service in the French Navy.The two were then taken to the French Antilles, where they boarded a commercial flight for Paris, BFM reported. Their lawyer said they travelled under their real names.An official with the French Foreign Ministry said the French government had nothing to do with their escape from justice in the Dominican Republic. The official was not authorized to be publicly named according to ministry policy.The pilots were among eight people convicted for involvement in a 700-kilogram (1,500-pound) shipment of cocaine in 2013. The pilots said they didn’t know the plane was carrying 26 suitcases of cocaine. The arrests came after a lengthy investigation into a drug-trafficking ring.“It is not true justice,” Reinhart said. “When you have an order that is illegal, you have to not respect it.” He said the pilots are now with their families, suffering from respiratory and dental problems but “happy to be in their country.” Sharing is caring! 586 Views   no discussions Share Sharecenter_img Tweet Share InternationalLifestyleNewsPrintRegionalTravel French pilots flee Dominican Republic over drug conviction by: Associated Press – October 27, 2015last_img read more

Van Niekerk smashes 400m in world record time

first_imgBy Nick Mulvenney RIO DE JANEIRO(Reuters)-South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk ran the fastest single lap in history to win the 400 metres gold medal in 43.03 seconds and break a 17-year-old world record at the Olympic Games yesterday.Running in lane eight, the 24-year-old world champion got off to a flier and was streaking clear on the back straight but he upped his pace even further in the second half of the race to better American Michael Johnson’s 1999 mark of 43.18 seconds.Van Niekerk crossed the line a good five metres ahead of 2012 champion Kirani James and held his hands to his head in disbelief at his time before being embraced by the Grenadian, who took silver in 43.76.LaShawn Merritt of the United States, the 2008 Olympic champion, claimed bronze in 43.85, the first time the top three had run under 44 seconds in an Olympic 400 final.Johnson, who won back-to-back Olympic titles in the event in 1996 and 2000, was dumbfounded by the quality of Van Niekerk’s finish.“Oh my God! From lane eight, a world record,” Johnson said on the BBC. “He took it out so quick. I have never seen anything from 200 to 400 like that.”last_img read more