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Dominican Republic court postpones French pilots' drug trial for seventh time

Cocaine seized by customs officers
Cocaine seized by customs officers Reuters/Tyrone Siu

The families and friends of two French pilots are furious after a court in the Dominican Republic postponed their trial on drug-running charges for the seventh time. The pair were arrested on 23 March when contain 700 kilos of cocaine were found on the private plane they were due to fly out of Punta Cana.

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Pascal Fauret and Bruno Odos and 38 other people, including two other French nationals, were in court for the seventh time on Friday but Judge Elka Reyes postponed the hearing to 8 May to give the prosecution more time to work on its case.

“Every day counts, it’s now 13 months and one week,” Fauret said after the decision. “It’s beginning to get a bit long.”

The two were at the controls of the Falcon 50, owned by French eyeglass manufacturer Alain Afflelou but chartered to a French-based hire company, SN-THS, when the Dominican drug enforcement agency found the cocaine.

The main French pilots’ union launched a boycott of the Dominican Republic in protest at the delay in bringing the case to trial but lifted it at the beginning of April, saying that the case "has progressed rapidly", citing Friday’s hearing as evidence.

On 3 March French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius described the repeated postponements as “very shocking” and called for a hearing soon.

On 19 April 150 people demonstrated in support of the pilots in the central French city of Lyon.
 

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