Wednesday 24 January 2018

Judge reopens investigation into murder of seven monks

Kim Willsher in Paris

A French judge has re-opened an investigation into the murder of seven monks in Algeria whose ordeal is portrayed in the film Of Gods and Men.

The mystery of what happened to the Cistercian monks who were snatched from the Our Lady of Atlas monastery near the village of Tibhirine in 1996 has never been solved.

Although it is believed that they were shot, then beheaded, their bodies have never been found.

Islamic extremists were blamed for the killings but information emerged that implicated the Algerian military in their deaths and suggested that France had colluded in covering up the truth.

The French, Algeria's former colonial masters, have refused to release confidential papers which might shed light on the case.

A French film about the case, Des Hommes et Des Dieux, won the Grand Prix at this year's Cannes film festival. It was a box-office hit in France. Released in Ireland this month as Of Gods and Men, it depicts the events leading up to the kidnapping.

Now France's foremost anti-terrorism investigating judge is waiting for a response to his request that secrecy orders on documents relating to the case be dropped.

© Observer

Sunday Independent

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