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France Braced For Paris Riots Case Verdict

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Two French police officers could today be sentenced to up to five years in prison over the deaths of two teenagers in a Paris suburb 10 years ago that sparked weeks of riots.

A court will rule whether Sebastien Gaillemin, 41, and Stephanie Klein, 38, failed to assist people in danger when two Muslim teenage boys chased by police hid in a power substation and were fatally electrocuted.

A third boy survived the 20,000-volt electric shock with severe burns and lasting trauma.

There are fears an acquittal might spark violent protests like those seen recently in the US.

The deaths in October 2005 sparked weeks of urban rioting across the country.

Thousands of vehicles were torched, public buildings were burned and thousands of people arrested.

A state of emergency was put in place and a curfew imposed to bring the situation under control.

As well as up to five years imprisonment, the two officers could be fined up to 75,000 euros (£54,000) each.

On the evening of 27 October 2005, Gaillemin was chasing the three boys and saw them head towards the power station.

He did not help them avoid the potentially fatal danger or call the emergency services.

Instead, he was heard saying into his police radio: "If they enter the site, I wouldn't pay much for their skins."

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Tags: paris, riots, versict
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