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French too sick to stand trial in Congo

The Local Norway
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French too sick to stand trial in Congo
Joshua French (right) speaking in court on Friday. Photo: Erlend Aas / Scanpix NTB

A court in the Democratic Republic of Congo postponed the trial of Norwegian ex-soldier Joshua French by nearly two weeks on Friday, after his lawyer claimed that he was too sick to express himself.

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"I'm not really sick, but I'm tired," French told Judge Serge Kabondo in a makeshift courtroom in Ndolo prison in Kinshasa, where he is being held.
 
French's lawyer Hans Marius Graasvold is now pushing to get French medical assistance to ensure that he is well by the time the trial starts again on January 21st. 
 
"I hope medical assistance is in place as soon as possible," he said. "We are working right now with different options. He must simply get help as soon as possible." 
 
During the one hour trial this morning, the prosecutor ridiculed the argument of French's Congolese lawyer that French was sick because he was sweating. 
 
"This is Africa , we are not sick because we sweat," Nkulu Katenda said to the laughter of the audience. 
 
French, a joint British and Norwegian citizen is being tried for the murder of his friend Tjostolv Moland, who was found dead in the cell they shared in August. 
 
The two had been jailed since 2009, accused of murdering their Congolese driver. 

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