- Georges Tron, mayor of Draveil, a Parisian suburb, was convicted of rape and sexual assault in February.
- Tron has refused to resign and continues to run the town of 30,000 people from his prison cell.
- Opposition leaders and feminist groups have asked the French government to remove Tron from office.
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Opposition leaders and feminist groups in France have protested over a local town mayor convicted of rape who has been allowed to continue running his municipality of 30,000 people from a prison cell.
For more than two months, Georges Tron, who was once a central government minister under Nicolas Sarkozy, has run the town of Draveil, a southern suburb of Paris, from his prison cell after being convicted of the rape and sexual assault of a junior staff member at his town hall office.
The 63-year-old was given a five-year sentence, two years of which were suspended. He has denied the charges and lodged an appeal with the French Supreme Court.
Tron has refused to resign and according to reports in The Guardian, continues to communicate with his advisers by letter, describing his current incarceration as an “impediment.”
A municipal council meeting held earlier this week opened with members of Tron’s staff reading a letter sent from his cell with instructions regarding the town’s budget, which provoked widespread anger from opposition politicians.
In response, Gabrielle Boeri-Charles, of the opposition group Transition Démocratique, Écologique et Sociale, said that Tron no longer held the “moral authority” to run the town. Feminist protesters congregated outside the council meeting holding placards depicting the convicted mayor behind bars.
An online petition created by the feminist groups Osez le Féminisme and the European Association Against Violence Against Women at Work (AVFT), calling on the French government to remove Tron from his post, has attracted over 35,000 signatures.
Tron’s mandate can be withdrawn by decree of the French Council of Ministers, but the government has refused to step in. Last month during a heated exchange with opposition politicians, Éric Dupond-Moretti, a former high-profile criminal defense lawyer who was appointed as the French justice minister by Emmanuel Macron last year, said the government could not act on the situation because Tron’s appeal was still active.
Dupond-Moretti said it would be “heresy” for the government to intervene.
Tron was originally cleared of rape and sexual assault in 2018. Two former municipal employees accused Tron, who they say claimed to be an expert reflexologist, of forcing them to engage in foot massages that turned into sexual assaults in 2007 and 2010.
But after an appeal trial in February, Tron was jailed in connection to one of the accusations. After the guilty verdict in February, the Draveil town hall released a press release with a statement from Tron who said he would refuse to resign and would work to prove his innocence.
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