INTRODUCTION: The controversial trial of 17 Corsicans on kidnap charges opened in Paris on Wednesday (14 January).
1978 library footage: GVs Mountain scenery in Corsica
CU PAN road sign obliterated by Corsican Moor's head emblem
SV & CUs Independence slogan painted on road and traffic signs, name sign, sign at height of pass (5 shots)
SV Independence slogan on tree trunk
SV "Francais Dehors" on farm door
Paris 1981. GV Police escort arriving at Ministry of Justice in Paris with accused aboard. GV Police in road with their vehicles. GV police vehicles driving into Justice Ministry (3 shots)
GV EXTERIOR Justice Ministry. CU sign "Ministere de la justice". GV Main facade of building(3 shots)
GVs EXTERIOR Ministry. Families of accused waiting (3 shots)
SV Woman spokesman for the demonstrators speaking in French
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The controversial trial of 17 Corsicans on kidnap charges opened in Paris on Wednesday (14 January). Six of the accused have been on hunger strike in Fresnes prison near Paris for two months.
SYNOPSIS: The roots of Corsica's discontent lie in what the separatists believe to be French lack of concern about their problem in the fields of industry, education and employment. The rebels particularly dislike the presence of a French Foreign Legion Base in Corsica, and trouble has flared between the islanders and French settlers from Algeria, who are believed to be behind illegal paramilitary groups fighting against the Corsican separatist movement.
The men on trial are alleged to be members of a non-violent autonomist group, the Corsican People's Union. They are said to have kidnapped three men who were believed to be active supporters of an illegal anti-separatist group. The kidnap victims were later released unharmed. A policeman and two civilians were killed in police checks during the incident, which occurred in the mountain village of Bastelica last year. The men on trial are not accused of the killings.
The hunger strikers' families staged this protest outside the French Justice Ministry because the alleged kidnap victims, who themselves stand accused of belonging to an illegal group, have been released pending trial.
This young woman is the sister of one of the hunger strikers. She is saying that she is here outside the court primarily because she is a Corsican patriot. Her brother and the others are on hunger strike to obtain the autonomy of Corsica, she says. They have no wish to endanger their own lives. She claims that the accused are innocent and alleges that the two civilians were killed by the police. The killer of the riot policeman has not yet been identified, she says. She also claims that a number of other Corsicans are still waiting to be tried, indeed, that some have been waiting for several years to come before a court.