`French ex-president Chirac not to attend trial`

Former French president Jacques Chirac will not attend his corruption trial opening in Paris on Monday on medical grounds, his lawyers said on Saturday.

Updated: Sep 03, 2011, 18:15 PM IST

Paris: Former French president Jacques Chirac
will not attend his corruption trial opening in Paris on
Monday on medical grounds, his lawyers said on Saturday.

At Chirac`s request, the lawyers said, they submitted a
letter from their client to the presiding judge on Friday,
together with a copy of his medical file.

"In the letter, president Chirac indicated to the court
his wish to see the trial proceed to its end and his
willingness to assume his responsibilities, even though he is
not entirely capable of taking part in the hearings. He has
therefore asked his lawyers to represent him and speak for him
in these hearings," the lawyers said in a communique.

There had been speculation about the 78-year-old`s state
of health, who was said to have been tired when he arrived on
holiday in Saint Tropez in the south of France.

His son-in-law Frederic Salat-Baroux said today Chirac`s
health "has been getting worse for several months" and he "no
longer has the memory" to attend the court hearings.

"Yes, his health has been getting worse for several
months, so he cannot attend the trial in humane and dignified
conditions," he said.

"For his family this is very painful," he added.

Salat-Baroux said that "anybody facing trial would have
asked that the debate stop" but "Jacques Chirac does not want
this to happen under any circumstances".

"If the trial stopped, the French would think that there
are two legal systems -- one for the powerful and one for the
weak".

PTI