The appeal process against seven opponents of the Bure radioactive waste disposal plan, six of whom received jail terms or suspended sentences in September 2021, began on Monday at the Court of Appeal in Nancy (Meurthe-et-Moselle).
“We hope to convince the court of the importance and necessity of releasing all those whom it has to try today,” one of their lawyers, Me Matteo Bonaglia, said before the opening of the hearing.
These opponents are being retried in Nancy for possession of substances or articles “intended to create explosive or incendiary devices” and for organizing an unannounced demonstration in Bure on August 15, 2017.
“This will be an opportunity to return to this long legal investigation” that lasted three years and four months and “which hindered many of the fundamental freedoms” of the seven activists, Me Bonaglia stressed.
At first instance, in June 2021, the Criminal Court of Bar-le-Duc (Meuse) sentenced two of the seven opponents to nine and twelve months in prison. The remaining four received suspended sentences ranging from six to nine months.
Only one defendant was fully released, the rest were simply released from the prevention of the criminal community, which was initially targeted.
Six convicted defendants filed appeals, and the prosecution approached him for a fully released person.
The 15 August 2017 demonstration was one of many years of protest against this project, dubbed Cigeo, a highly radioactive waste storage facility in Bure, on the border between the Meuse and the Haute-Marne.
This controversial project, led by the National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management (Andra), aims to bury 85,000 m3 of the most radioactive waste of the French nuclear fleet at a depth of 500 m underground by 2035-2040.
In July, this project was declared publicly beneficial by decree, but in September, opponents filed an appeal with the State Council.