The family of Yvan Colonna, the Corsican independence activist convicted of the assassination of Prefect Erignac, filed a complaint against the state in the Marseille Administrative Court on Wednesday over his fatal assault by a fellow prisoner on March 2 in Arles prison (Bouches-du-Rhône ).
Yvan Colonna’s parents, wife, brother, sister and two children “believe that the prison administration is legally responsible for his death,” said Me Patrice Spinosi, one of the family’s lawyers. “The various elements of the investigation reported by the press and the hearings of parliamentarians have only fueled suspicions that the attack on Yvan Colonna is directly related to a series of administrative irregularities,” the lawyer writes in a press release.
Claim 200,000 euros in damages for Yvan Colonna
He recalls that Article 44 of the law of 24 November 2009 provides that “the prison administration must ensure that every person imprisoned enjoys effective protection of their physical integrity in all collective and individual places”.
“The state is therefore obliged to compensate the heirs of a prisoner who died as a result of violence committed by another prisoner in a prison facility,” notes Me Spinosi, who specifically paid 200,000 euros in damages and interest to Yvan Colonna and 100,000 euros for demanded every member of his family.
“An independent and impartial court is now competent to assess the links between the state’s inaction and the death of Yvan Colonna,” continues the lawyer, after which “the administrative court must rule on the request by the end of the year”.
“Grotting with Bare Hands, Then Choking”
The 61-year-old nationalist activist was seriously injured on March 2 by a radicalized fellow prisoner, Franck Elong Abé, a 36-year-old Cameroonian presented as a “jihadist,” who attacked him in the prison gym. Yvan Colonna was “strangled with his bare hands and then suffocated” with a plastic bag, Tarascon prosecutor Laurent Gumbau said.
Yvan Colonna, sentenced three times to life imprisonment for the murder of Prefect Claude Erignac, shot multiple times in the head in Ajaccio in 1998, died on March 21 in Marseille hospital, where he had been transferred and where he was in a permanent coma. According to several sources, Yvan Colonna’s attacker justified his actions by saying that the Corsican activist had blasphemed the Prophet and “spoke badly of him”. A version deemed “incredible” by Arles Central House director Marc Ollier, who during a hearing before the National Assembly’s Judiciary Committee believed that the killer “wanted to pay someone ‘an acquaintance'”. .
Sometimes violent demonstrations throughout Corsica
This attack sparked an explosion of anger across Corsica, with sometimes violent demonstrations. Anger motivated in particular by the length of the attack on Yvan Colonna, almost eight minutes, under the view of a surveillance camera without the intervention of a superior. It was the assailant himself who alerted the guards, saying Colonna was “uncomfortable.”
Arles Central House Director and Prisons Administration Director Laurent Ridel assured during their hearing before the National Assembly that a single agent “could not see” the 49 cameras of the affected wing.