Retain Aged 89 On Treason Trial
Double Game With Nazis Alleged By Prosecution
N.Z.P.A.—Copyright.—Rec. noon. LONDON, July 23. "The inauguration of Petain's personal rule was the final realisation of a long-prepared plot against the Republican regime in France," declared M. Andre Mornet, the 80-year-old prosecutor, when the aged chief of the French State during the German occupation faced his judges on a charge of treason in the Palais de Justice in Paris this morning. Petain, aged 89, entered the Court at noon wearing the insignia of a marshal of France. He stood facing the tribune as the judges, in scarlet and ermine robes, entered the Court. The 24 members of the jury looked down on Petain with grim faces. The Court was crowded soon after 11 a.m. Detectives were posted discreetly in every part of the room. Hundreds of armed gendarmes formed a solid ring immediately around the Palais de Justice, while others commanded the corners over distances of hundreds of yards. As soon as the judges were seated M. Mornet, who is stated to have been preparing for the trial for more than five years, began reading the indictment, charging Petain with the betrayal of France and exchanging intelligence with the enemy. M. Mornet said none of the pleas Petain was expected to put up in his defence stood up to scrutiny. These were that he was not responsible for the acts of his Government, that he signed the armistice to save further bloodshed, and that he played a double game with the Germans by paying them lip service while really sympathising with the Allies. M. Mornet produced a document which accused Petain of using his post as French Ambassador in Madrid "to obtain financial assistance and the promise'of military aid." The same document stated that Petain and Hitler had drawn up the terms of the armistice between France and Germany early in the war, with General Franco as an intermediary, but Hitler had not kept his promises. The document was a record of the interrogation of M. Alibert, former Minister of Justice, who was now believed to be in hiding. s The defence challenged the competence of the Court, declaring that the magistrate of the High Court had taken the oath of allegiance to Petain. The prosecution replied that the oath had no value, as the country was then under the law of the enemy. The Court over-ruled the objection and ordered the trial to proceed. i
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Retain Aged 89 On Treason Trial, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 173, 24 July 1945
Retain Aged 89 On Treason Trial Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 173, 24 July 1945
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