Sarkozy calls corruption conviction ‘shockingly unjust’

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Samuel Osborne
·2 min read
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Nicolas Sarkozy (AP)
Nicolas Sarkozy (AP)

Nicolas Sarkozy has said he will prove his innocence at the European Court of Human Rights after he was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to prison.

The former French president denounced Monday’s verdict as “profoundly and shockingly unjust”.

In an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, he said: "I cannot accept to be convicted for something I didn't do.”

He said he was the victim of a deep injustice and that the ruling was riddled with inconsistencies, adding that the political impartiality of some investigating judges was open to question.

“I appealed the decision. Maybe I will have to pursue this fight all the way to the European Court of Human Rights,” Sarkozy said. “That would be painful for me to have to get my own country condemned, but I’m ready to do so because that would be the price of democracy.”

A court in Paris convicted the 66-year-old of trying to bribe a judge in exchange for information about an investigation into his 2007 campaign finances.

The court found on the basis of “consistent and serious evidence” that Sarkozy and two of his codefendants sealed a “pact of corruption” in 2014.

He was sentenced to a year in prison along with a two-year suspended sentence, although he will remain free during the appeal process.

Sarkozy said he spent the evening after his conviction watching the US drama series The Killing with his family.

He went on to rule out running again for office next year, mentioning family reasons to Le Figaro.

“I had said I won't run in the presidential election. I'm maintaining it,” he was quoted as saying.

However, he said he intends to play a role in upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections next year.

“I will do my duty by saying what I think,” he said.

Sarkozy will stand in another trial later this month over allegations about his 2012 presidential campaign, which resulted in a victory for his Socialist rival, Francois Hollande.

Additional reporting by agencies

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