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France

'Air Cocaine' pilots will not be extradited

media Pascal Fauret, one of the pilots implicated in the "Air Cocaine" scandal at a press conference in Paris on the 27th October 2015 REUTERS/Charles Platiau

France has dismissed the possibility that the two pilots implicated in the so-called 'Air Cocaine' drugs scandal will be extradicted, after they made a dramatic escape to France from the Dominican Republic.

Government spokesperson, Stéphane Le Foll told radio statio RTL "France will apply the rule of law. We do not extradite French citizens once they are on French soil".

He added "France is a grown-up country where the rule of law is respected. We respect other countries' laws world and we expect to have ours respected also."

France does not extradite its citizens as a matter of principle, with the exception of under a European arrest warrant request.

Le Foll's remarks come after the judicial officials in the Dominican Republic announced on Tuesday that it intended to request an international arrest warrant which would ban the pair from leaving mainland France or risk facing extradition.

The spokesperson also reiterated that France had nothing to do with the pilot's dramatic escape from the Dominican Republique, via the franco-Dutch island of Saint Martin to the French island of Martinique, where they boarded a plane for the mainland.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius declared on Tuesday that the state was in no way involved in their escape.

Pascal Fauret, 55, and Bruno Odos, 56, had been handed sentences in August to 20 years in prison for the attempted smuggling of 680 kilograms of cocaine aboard the plane they were due to pilot.

They were arrested in 2013, along with two other Frenchmen, Nicholas Pisapia and Alain Castany.

All four had been released pending appeal but were banned from leaving the country.

An investigation is also underway in France regarding the scandal in which a dozen suspects have been implicated, including the two escapee pilots.

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