1 Nov 2012

French police face new trial over teenagers' deaths

11:15 am on 1 November 2012

Two policeman face a new trial over the deaths of two teenagers that triggered nationwide riots in France, after a court overturned a ruling that cleared them of involvement.

Zyed Benna, 17, and Bouna Traore, 15, were electrocuted while hiding from police in a sub-station in the eastern Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois.

Their deaths sparked weeks of rioting across France's deprived suburbs, the BBC reports.

Last year, a lower court dropped a "failure to help" case against the officers for lack of concrete evidence but after the ruling by France's highest court, the case will now go to the appeals court in the French city of Rennes.

The court ruling on Wednesday said the lower court in Paris had not answered the plaintiffs' allegation that the police were unsure that night whether the youths had fled into the electricity sub-station.

For seven years the teenagers' families and local support groups have campaigned to have the policemen put on trial.

The judgement was welcomed by the lawyer for the families who said the officers' "sole objective" that night had been to catch the two teenagers, who had committed no offence."

The rioting sparked by the two teenagers' deaths spread across the country with thousands of cars torched over 21 nights of violence.