The office of the French President Francois Hollande assured lawyers of Suja Jones on Thursday morning that the French government “would not take any sides in the matter”, legal representatives of Ms. Jones said.

In a media statement, her lawyers said that the French government has assured it would not intervene in the trial. This follows AFP reporting that her husband Pascal Mazurier’s lawyers had sought the French government’s intervention to bring their three children, including the little daughter whom he is accused of raping, back to France.

Responding to Ms. Jones’ complaint that senior consulate officials were seen at the Family Court hearing (for visitation rights of the children) along with the accused, the French officials promised that this would not happen.

At the meeting, Christian Lechervy, Councillor for Asia/Pacific, Office of the French President, told the lawyers Ms. Jones and her French children would get consular protection. The lawyers said some headway was made in moving to get financial support from Mr. Mazurier to the family, and that the passports (currently with the French Consulate) would be returned. Until now, the French Presidential Office had been unresponsive to all attempts to contact it by Ms. Jones, who wanted to meet the French President during his two-day visit to India last week. Surprisingly, in a letter to her lawyers, French Minister of External Affairs Laurent Fabius “contradicted all assurances of a neutral position”, her lawyers wrote.

This letter, a copy of which was shared with The Hindu, views the entire issue as a case of “conflict” rather than a criminal case.

Speaking to The Hindu, Ms. Jones said she was surprised to note the contradictions in the two stances that the French authorities were taking. “While the French President’s Office reassures me that their stance will be neutral, the other has decidedly taken Pascal’s new line of defence as fact. It is disconcerting to see that they are viewing this, as expressed in the letter, as a case of marital conflict rather than a criminal case where the state has charge-sheeted him for sexually abusing his daughter.”

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