- Title: Hearing for French 'air cocaine' defendant postponed
- Date: 27th September 2016
- Summary: SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (SEPTEMBER 27, 2016) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF COURT SHIELD OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC HALLWAY TO APPEALS COURT SIGN ATTORNEY FOR CHRISTOPHE NAUDIN, MIGUEL VALERIO, TALKING TO ATTORNEY AND JOURNALIST VALERIO TALKING ARMED SOLDIERS ESCORTING DEFENDANT CHRISTOPHE NAUDIN THROUGH HALLWAY (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MIGUEL VALERIO, ATTORNEY FOR CHRISTOPHE NAUDIN, SAYING: "Today we did come to attend the hearing but, from day one, we said we wanted to present the case. We weren't able to today but we hope that, next week, Mr. Naudin's fate will become more defined. Today, we came to present the case's complexity; we understand that, quite the opposite, it's not a complex case, it's very simple: we have our thesis and the public ministry has a different one. We do do want to say here today that the judge was protective and must protect the rights of the parties and one of the rights that he has, a non-waivable right in the judge's opinion, is of a judicial translator." NAUDIN WALKING AWAY, ESCORTED BY SOLDIERS
- Embargoed: 12th October 2016 18:14
- Keywords: air cocaine Christophe Naudin French pilots escape trial
- Location: SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
- City: SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
- Country: Dominican Republic
- Topics: Crime
- Reuters ID: LVA00151CGACJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: On Tuesday (September 27), a judge in the Dominican Republic postponed a hearing for Frenchman Christophe Naudin, accused of helping two pilots convicted of cocaine trafficking escape the country in a case dubbed "Air Cocaine," because there was no translator.
Judge Keila Perez rescheduled Naudin's hearing for October 6.
It is not the first time the judge put off Naudin's hearing, which was most recently postponed on September 15 for lack of a translator.
Naudin attended the hearing escorted by armed soldiers.
A 53-year-old criminologist specializing in aviation security, Naudin has admitted in the media that he helped arrange the escape.
The pilots were sentenced to 20 years in prison in August 2015 for possession of 1,500 pounds (700 kilos) of cocaine with intent to traffic it aboard an aircraft seized in the Dominican Republic's Punta Cana International Airport in March 2013.
They denied the charges and were given some freedom of movement during an appeal against the conviction.
The two fled the Dominican Republic in the well-planned escape and arrived back in France shortly afterwards where they were arrested again by French authorities on November 2.
Dominican authorities sought Naudin, European parliament member Aymeric Chauprade and Pierre Malinowski, an assistant to far-right politician Jean-Marie Le Pen, over the case.
In March of this year, Naudin was extradited from Egypt.
Naudin's attorney, Miguel Valerio, is attempting to stop the prosecution from having the case classified as a "complex case," which would allow Naudin to be held in preventive detention for up to 18 months while prosecutors investigate.
"Today, we came to present the case's complexity; we understand that, quite the opposite, it's not a complex case, it's very simple: we have our thesis and the public ministry has a different one," he said.
Dubbed "air cocaine" by French media, the case sparked criticism of Dominican Republic's judiciary, as the judge who granted them looser terms was subsequently charged with taking bribes in a corruption case linked to contract killings.
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