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France

Far-left politician fined in bossnapping case

media Olivier Besancenot speaks at an NPA meeting Charles Platiau/Reuters

Far-left French politician Olivier Besancenot and 10 other postal workers have been fined by a French court for holding post office managers against their will during an industrial dispute. But the fines are suspended sentences - a much less severe punishment than could have been handed down.

As the latest stage of the much-higher profile legal action against former president Jacques Chirac opened in Paris Monday, a court in nearby Nanterre delivered a judgement in one of the spate of cases involving politicians due to hit the courts this autumn.

Spate of high-profile trials in France

Besancenot, a former presidential candidate and spokesperson for the hard-left New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA), faced trial over the occupation of a post office building in May 2010.

Several members of junior management claimed they had been effectively kidnapped by the protesters and the court found their complaint justified.

But the punishment was not exactly swingeing.

French politics no stranger to scandals

While finding four trade unionists arrested at the time not guilty, it ordered the 11 to pay the plaintiffs 500 euros damages and 150 euros costs.

And it fined them 1,500 euros but only as a suspended sentence.

The defendants claimed that their action was a legitimate tactic in an industrial dispute.

In 2009-2010 France saw a spate of “bossnappings”, as workers locked their bosses in their offices during industrial disputes, which were often over proposed layoffs.

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