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French National Faces Forced Labour in CAR if Found Guilty of Espionage

Authorities in the Central African Republic (CAR) have charged a French national with espionage and conspiracy, nearly a month after his arrest. Juan Remy Quignolot was detained on May 10 after police said it had found weapons, military fatigues and foreign banknotes at his residence in the capital, Bangui. Authorities accused him of having aided and trained rebel fighters in the conflict-wracked country since 2013. The CAR’s Attorney General Eric Didier Tambo said on Wednesday Quignolot had been charged with espionage, illegal possession of military and hunting weapons, criminal association, harming domestic state security and conspiracy. He made no reference to any country or organisation for whom Quignolot allegedly worked, but said any trial would take place within six months. “In cases of harming domestic security, you’re talking about lifetime forced labour,” he said, referring to the potential punishment. Quignolot, 55, has denied the accusations. The announcement of charges came two days after France suspended aid and military support to the CAR because of what it said was a failure by the government to stop “massive disinformation campaigns” that have targeted its officials.