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Dominican court rejects Frenchman's appeal of Air Cocaine jail sentence

media Alain Castany (L) and Nicolas Pisapia (R) on trial in the Dominican Republic in 2014 AFP

A Frenchman convicted of trying to smuggle 680 kilos of cocaine out of the Dominican Republic has had his appeal against a 20-year prison sentence rejected. Nicolas Pisapia, one of four French citizens and 10 Dominicans accused in the case, is to appeal to the West Indies island's supreme court, his lawyer said.

The 20-year jail sentence against 40-year-old Pisapia was confirmed on Tuesday but the appeal court rejected a prosecution call for his immediate imprisonment, allowing him out on bail while he takes his case to the Dominican Republic's highest court, lawyer Julien Pinelli said.

Cases have to wait six months on average to be heard by the supreme court and Pisapia is forbidden to leave the island while the case is pending.

Pisapia, who has already spent a year in jail awaiting trial, is alleged to have been a passenger on board a Falcon 50 jet that was intercepted and found to have 26 suitcases containing 680 kilos of cocaine on board in March 2013.

Pilots fled to France

The two pilots, Frenchmen Pascal Fauret and Bruno Odos, lost their appeals against 20-year prison sentences in February.

They are currently in France under judicial supervision, having fled the Dominican Republic with the help of Christophe Naudin, an aide to far-right Euro-MP Aymeric Chauprade.

They claim they did not know the drugs were on board.

Although the Dominican Republic has issued an international arrest warrant for them, France has ruled out extradition but has launched its own investigation, which is expected to deliver its findings soon.

Naudin is currently in jail awaiting trial in the Dominican Republic following his extradition from Egypt.

The fourth Frenchman, Alain Castany, has also appealed against a 20-year jail sentence.

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