Score One For Sarkozy
A crime that took place two weeks ago has aroused public opinion throughout France. The following report is based on two articles from Le Figaro, one from November 9, the other from November 11.
On October 27, at 9:00 A.M. René Dahan, a businessman from Nogent-sur-Marne, was attacked by three hooded criminals as he was getting ready to leave his home. Threatened with a magnum 357, he was struck on the head before managing to wrest the weapon from one of the intruders, who was attempting to strangle him, while his companions were tying up Mrs. Dahan. After firing one bullet that hit the ceiling, Dahan fired three more times, hitting the burglar who stumbled and fell out the window. He died shortly thereafter.
René Dahan was arrested for voluntary homicide and placed in the detention center at Fleury-Mérogis.
Dahan's lawyer, Marie-Alix Canu-Bernard said he was "stunned. He's just an average citizen who suddenly finds himself behind bars." Dahan's brother Jean exclaimed: "Are you guilty for defending yourself? When you are the victim the only right you have is to die."
Now it appears that Nicolas Sarkozy has intervened to have Dahan released from prison. Chantal Dahan, the victim's wife, made the following statement: "It's the end of a nightmare that began with that terrible attack. My husband reacted heroically, legitimately defending himself. In this situation, we understand why there is an inquiry, but I am shocked that the judge ordered René's incarceration."
Pascal Clement, the Minister of Justice, indicated that the "deeds attributed to René Dahan do not seem to conform to the notion of self-defense."
Moreover, according to Oliver Geay, writing at RTL, both judges and left-wing politicians object to Sarkozy's interference in matters pertaining to the Ministry of Justice.
The photo shows Pascal Clément (white hair) visiting Bapaume Prison in Northern France on October 19, 2006.
Update: September 2010 - This story is once again in the news, albeit indirectly, thanks to the René Galinier affair. Galinier, like Dahan, shot but did not kill two female burglars in August 2010. He has now been in jail for 52 days. Many commentators are comparing the two cases, and the two different reactions of Nicolas Sarkozy, who was Interior Minister in 2006 and is now President.