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French police officers go on trial over teenagers death

Clashes between riot police and French youths in the Paris suburb of Aulnay sur Bois, 3 November 2005, file photo.
Clashes between riot police and French youths in the Paris suburb of Aulnay sur Bois, 3 November 2005, file photo. Reuters/Victor Tonelli

In Rennes - Brittany-  the trial begins on Monday for two police officers - a decade after the death of two teenage men that prompted riots in disaffected communities across France.

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The officers stand accused of failing to assist 15-year-old Bouna Traoré and 17-year-old Zyed Benna  who were hiding from police in a fenced-off, high-voltage electricity transformer where they were electrocuted to death.

Supporters of their families say the teenagers were running from police near their housing project northeast of Paris, because they anticipated harassment and humiliation. They say the deaths could have been avoided.

Police officers Sébastien Gaillemin and Stéphanie Klein face charges of failing to assist a person in danger.

The deaths spurred weeks of nightly rioting and arson in poor suburbs across France over police harassment and discrimination in 2005.

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