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French judges called Friday for a national strike and a day of action to protest against President Nicolas Sarkozy’s criticisms of the police and the justice system. Sarkozy blamed them for the death of 18-year-old Laëtitia, whose body was discovered in a pond near Nantes in western France.
Tony Meilhon, who had 15 previous convictions and who was still on parole, was arrested soon afterwards. An earlier complaint by his former girlfriend for violence had not been followed up.
“When we let an individual like that out of prison without making sure that he will be followed by a parole officer, the judiciary is at fault,” Sarkozy said during a visit to Nantes, vowing sactions.
The magistrates of the Nantes court decided on an immediate suspension of business and have called a national strike to last until 10 February.
In the autumn, magistrates objected to a plan by Sarkozy to introduce juries into magistrates’ courts, where most offences are tried.
Two police unions criticised the tendency to look for scapegoats during widely publicised murder cases.