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3 Youths Accused of Desecration, Implicating Jews

From Associated Press

Three skinheads, wearing masks to conceal their identities, were charged in court Friday with desecrating about 100 graves at a Roman Catholic cemetery and trying to make it appear that Jews committed the crime.

Police said the three wanted people to believe the vandalism Wednesday night in Nantes was committed in revenge for the gruesome desecration last week at a Jewish cemetery in Carpentras. A corpse there was dug up and impaled on an umbrella handle.

Police said the suspects apparently decided to carry out the desecration to protest the detention of right-wing extremists during the investigation of the Carpentras incident.

The suspects, who did not enter pleas, face sentences of up to two years if convicted on the charges of vandalism and provoking racial hatred.

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Legal sources described them as skinheads--youths whose close-cropped hair is an emblem of extreme right-wing views. The sources said they had admitted desecrating the cemetery to whip up anti-Semitism.

Fearing possible reprisals against the youths or their families, police outfitted them with masks for their appearance at Nantes’ courthouse.

As of late Friday, the Carpentras case remained unsolved. The government said it was considering posting a reward, a step rarely taken in France.


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