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LE NOUVEL OBS (France)

PARIS – At midnight Friday, European time, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy will become a citizen like any other again. The French Constitution protects any standing President from being taken to court. But now that Sarkozy has been bumped from office by François Hollande, he could face prosecution in several outstanding cases.

In addition to many minor accusations sure to arise, Sarkozy has been cited in three major cases in France, Le Nouvel Observateur reports.

The biggest threat for Sarkozy is certainly the Bettencourt case where the former President has been cited by several witnesses for questionable dealings with Liliane Bettencourt, the billionaire heir to the L'Oreal's cosmetic giant. Patrick de Maistre, who managed Bettencourt's fortune, could have asked her to withdraw this money, cash, to give it to Nicolas Sarkozy in order to finance his 2007 presidential campaign.

He is also suspected of being linked to what is known in France as the Karachi scandal. In 1995, Sarkozy was running Edouard Balladur's presidential campaign. Both are accused of having funded the campaign with 10 million euros coming from commissions linked to arms contracts in Pakistan.

And most recently, the French website Médiapart reported evidence that it says shows that Muammar Gaddafi funded Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign. Saif al Islam Gaddafi, the son of the former Libyan dictator, was quoted as saying: "We funded his campaign, and we have proof. And now we want this clown to give the money back to the Libyan people," he said at the end of 2011, just before France got involved in the Libyan revolution, hastening Gaddafi's fall.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Searching For Marianna, A Pregnant Doctor From Mariupol Held Captive By The Russians

We’ve heard about the plight of the soldiers-turned-prisoners from Mariupol. Here are some traces of the disturbing fate of a young female doctor who’s been taken away.

A paper dove reads "Mariupol" at a shelter for displaced children in Uzhhorod, western Ukraine.

Paweł Smoleński

"Wait for me, because I will return…"

Marianna Mamonova wrote these words to her family, among the text messages and short phone calls that are the only remaining fragments used to piece together her recent past. We also have a photo of her, posted on Russian websites, where she looks into the lens, gaunt and exhausted, signed with a number like a concentration camp prisoner.

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Until the Russian-Ukrainian war, Mamonova’s biography was available to anyone who wanted to know. She was born in 1991, studied at the Ternopil Medical University, and later at the Kyiv Military Academy. After completing her studies, she was sent to work in the coastal city of Berdiansk. Her mother says that this is where her daughter's dream came true: She’d always wanted to be a military doctor, and worked in Berdiansk for three years, receiving the rank of officer in the Ukrainian army.

Beginning in 2014, she’d worked stints as a front-line doctor in the Donbas region, and when Russia invaded Ukraine in February she went to war again. This time in Mariupol.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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