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French Judge Orders Release of Activist Farmer Jose Bové
Published on Friday, August 1, 2003 by Agence France Presse
French Judge Orders Release of Activist Farmer Jose Bové

VILLENEUVE-LES-MAGUELONE, France - A judge in southern France ordered the conditional release of jailed anti-globalization activist Jose Bové, his lawyer Francois Roux told AFP.

French anti-globalization activist and leader of the farmers union, Jose Bove.
(AFP/File/Joel Saget)
The ruling calls for Jose Bové, who gained worldwide notoriety for demolishing a half-built McDonald's restaurant in 1999, to be allowed to return home and work for a local agricultural association that has offered him a job, Roux said Friday.

Prosecutors can appeal the judge's decision, a move that would keep it from going into effect, but Roux said Jose Bové could walk out of prison by Saturday.

The 50-year-old Jose Bové, who heads a radical farmers' union, has so far spent a month behind bars at the Villeneuve-les-Maguelone prison in southern France for having destroyed genetically modified crops.

He was taken into custody on June 22 in a spectacular police raid on his home to serve a sentence of 10 months, but the traditional Bastille Day pardons meted out by President Jacques Chirac on July 14 cut that to six months.

The jail time represented the accumulation of two sentences -- six months for the destruction of genetically modified rice in Montpellier in 1999 and four months for a similar raid in 1998.

Ten days ago, Jose Bové lodged a request for his conditional release under a provision that allows prisoners sentenced to less than one year in jail to pursue employment without being under constant watch by guards.

Last year, he spent a month and a half behind bars for destroying the McDonald's franchise in the southern town of Millau.

Copyright 2003 AFP


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