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Judge Stages Fake Wedding With Ex To Block Him From Marrying Again

A French judge used a stand-in for the role of the groom, registering her ex-boyfriend's name as her husband because she feared he would marry another woman.

Judge Stages Fake Wedding With Ex To Block Him From Marrying Again
Emma Flacard

Souad Meslem, a 59-year-old French judge, faces up to 10 years in prison for allegedly using her legal authority to orchestrate a sham wedding, to prevent her ex-partner from getting married.

The romanesque folly, as a fellow magistrate called the whole affair, had started off so well back in 2017, Le Monde reports. Meslem and her partner were about to move together to La Réunion — a heavenly island and French overseas department in the Indian Ocean — after she had been nominated assistant public prosecutor of the Court of Appeal of Saint-Denis de La Réunion. Meslam would move first, and her partner and father of their four children would join her there a few weeks later.

But he never showed up, announcing instead that he wanted to break up after 28 years together after he had fallen in love with one of their mutual friends.

It was too much for Meslem, who feared the pair would marry. She devised a detailed plan to sabotage her ex-partner, which became "an obsession," according to a senior judicial official quoted in Le Monde.

She stole his passport, made a copy and got access to his birth certificate. With these precious documents, Meslem began to meticulously organize the wedding for March 5, 2019. She published the official announcement, booked a slot at the town hall for the ceremony and even bought a plane ticket for her ex-partner's brother whom she'd recruited as the stand-in groom. The jilted mother also convinced her eldest daughter to sign the official documents as a witness for the groom.

It was only a few months later that the "lucky guy," a lawyer himself, found out through colleagues that he was officially married to his ex. Meslem, who had come back to mainland France, had just been appointed vice-president of Colombes local tribunal, a suburb west of Paris, in September 2019.

Meslem was arrested two months later near Paris, and was later charged by an examining magistrate, in Versailles, for "forgery and use of forgeries in public writing, undue obtaining of administrative documents and use of forged administrative documents by a person holding public authority." She was placed under legal supervision, and suspended from her post for "failures in her duties of legality, probity and integrity."

While Meslem could face a ten-year sentence on mainland France, the court back on the island of La Réunion has launched proceedings to annul the bogus wedding.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Along The "New Border" Of Ukraine, Annexation Has Just Doubled The Danger

Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of Ukrainian territories in a ceremony in the Kremlin. In a village just a few kilometers away from what is now the Ukraine-Russia "border" in Putin's eyes, life continues amid constant shelling and the fear of what comes next.

Ukrainian soldiers are stationed in the village of Inhulka, near Kherson.

Stefan Schocher

INHULKA — The trail leads over a gravel road, a rickety pontoon bridge past a checkpoint. Here in the remote village of Inhulka near Kherson in southern Ukraine, soldiers sit in front of the village shop. Inside, two women run back and forth behind the counter, making coffee, selling sausages, weighing tomatoes. "Natalochka, where are the cookies," calls a dark-haired lady across the room.

But Natalochka, her colleague, is about to lose her nerve. "What kind of life is that?" she says, finally reaching up to grab the cookies from the top of a shelf. What kind of life can it be, she asks, when something is constantly exploding next to you and you don't know if you'll wake up in the morning.

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Inhulka is the center of a rural community. 1,587 inhabitants, as the village chief says, one school, one kindergarten, one doctor, two stores. Since March, nothing here is as it used to be. That was when the Russian army came to the village.

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