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Christian Ranucci (April 6, 1954 – July 28, 1976) was one of the last people executed in France, having been convicted of the abduction and murder of a young girl, Marie-Dolorès Rambla.
He was tried in Aix-en-Provence in Southern France on March 9-March 10, 1976, and sentenced to death. His appeal for a second trial was denied by a higher court on June 16. President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing refused a pardon for Ranucci.
He was executed by guillotining at Baumettes prison in Marseilles, on July 28, 1976, at 4.13 am. His lawyers, who witnessed the execution, said his last words were "Rehabilitate me". Executioner André Obrecht wrote in his memoirs that, to the contrary, Ranucci said nothing before dying.
There has been some controversy regarding Ranucci's guilt. A book by Gilles Perrault, entitled Le Pull-over rouge, disputed his involvement in the crime. The title of the book refers to an article of clothing, a red sweater, found near the victim's body similar to that worn by the abductor, who drove a car that did not belong to Ranucci, if the witnesses to the abduction identified the vehicle correctly. The sweater was not Ranucci's. The book became a film by Michel Drach in 1979 and another film in 2007. In 2008 Perrault and his publisher Fayard were found guilty of defamation against the Marseille police in the book. Perrault was fined 5000 euros and his editor an equal sum, a decision confirmed on appeal in 2009. The appeal court also granted 10000 euros in damages to each of the four policemen defamed.
Other books consider Ranucci was guilty, and former president Giscard d'Estaing said in 2010 that he has no regrets about the case.
- Gilles Perrault et son éditeur condamnés pour diffamation, 27 janvier 2009, La Provence
- (Agence France-Presse (AFP) 8 octobre 2010).
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