PARIS: Maurice Papon, a former Cabinet minister who was convicted of complicity in crimes against humanity for his role in deporting Jews during World War II and became a symbol of France's collaboration with the Nazis, has died. He was 96.
Papon, who was admitted to a clinic east of Paris last week for surgery on his pacemaker, died in his sleep on Saturday afternoon, said his lawyer, Francis Vuillemin.
Papon was the highest-ranking Frenchman to be convicted for a role in the pro-Nazi Vichy regime.
The April 2, 1998, guilty verdict was the culmination of a trial that offered a painful look at one of the darkest periods in modern French history.
However, Papon - who at one point fled France to avoid prison - lived out his final years a free man, released from Paris' dour La Sante prison on Sept. 18, 2002, because of failing health. - AP