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France - Dominican Republic

French pilots' cocaine-trafficking trial postponed again in Dominican Republic

Cocaïne. Files.
Cocaïne. Files. Reuters/Tyrone Siu

The trial of four French nationals, two of them pilots, on cocaine-smuggling charges in the Dominican Republic was postponed for the eighth time on Monday. Defence lawyers caled for the adjournment because witnesses and a French translator were not in court.

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Since the four were arrested in March 2013 on drug-trafficking charges, the hearings have  been postponed time and again.

On Monday the absence of the main witnesses and the French translator led the pilots' lawyer Maria Elena Gatereaux to call for a further postponment of the trial.

"We ask the court to postpone the trial," she said, asking for more tim to study the case and pointing out that in addition "the summonses to my clients was sent to the wrong address".

The trial has been postponed to 1 December 2014.

In March 2013 pilots, Pascal Jean Fauret and Bruno Odos, both of whom have served in the French air force, were arrested as the Dominican drug agency found 700 kilos of cocaïne in 26 suitcases on the private plane they were due to fly to France.

They have always protested their innocence and argued that they were not aware of  the nature of the suitcases under the international aviation regulations.

But the Dominican judge rejected the argument, saying that the pilots were responsible for  what was on board their flight. 

Thirty-eight other people have also been arrested on this case. 

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