A violent ambush on a police patrol car in a Paris suburb has been followed by a political row between the country’s top judges and interior minister. A policeman is seriously injured in hospital after he and a colleague were set upon by a gang about 20 strong. The attack came as one police chief warned the courts were being too lax with young offenders.
The Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy agreed. This year the number of people put behind bars has fallen by more than 15 percent, he said. He accused the courts in the capital’s most difficult suburb of resignation in dealing with increasingly violent offenders.
His comments did not go down well with ministerial colleagues. The Justice Minister said far from being lax, French justice was severe. Magistrates are furious with Sarkozy, and the country’s top judge is demanding to see President Jacques Chirac. The repercussions of last year’s riots are still being felt.