FRENCH PILOTS WERE TORTURED

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A French newspaper reports that the two pilots released by the Serbs on the eve of the Paris peace treaty ceremony were tortured during their three-and-a-half month imprisonment. At one point, said the paper, Le Canard Enchaine, Gen. Ratko Mladic, the commander of the Bosnian Serbs now under indictment for war crimes, told the two men that they would be tortured and killed. The newspaper reports that the French government told the pilots to give the public a calm rendition of their captivity. "But," says TIME’s Bruce Crumley, "the paper contends that when they were debriefed by military intelligence, the pilots told them what really happened." The pilots, Captain Frederic Chiffot and Lt. Jose Souvignet, were beaten and kicked by Serb soldiers from the moment they were first taken captive on August 30. In prison the beatings continued and the pilots were subjected to mock executions. "No other news organization has been able to confirm this yet," says Crumley, "but the paper has a reputation for getting scoops."