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Diana photographers to go on trial in privacy case
( 2003-10-24 09:51) (Agencies)

Three photographers who took pictures of Britain's Princess Diana and her friend Dodi al Fayed in their car shortly before their fatal crash in 1997 go on trial in a Paris court on Friday for invasion of privacy.

The case against Jacques Langevin of Sygma agency, Christian Martinez of the Angeli agency and freelancer Fabrice Chassery follows a complaint by Dodi's father Mohamed al Fayed, the millionaire owner of London's famous Harrods store.

The trial for invasion of privacy will hang on a recently established precedent in French law under which the interior of a car is deemed private even if it is on a public road. If found guilty, they could be jailed for a year and ordered to pay fines of 45,000 euros ($53,000).

Diana, the Princess of Wales, is shown during her visit to Leicester,
England, in this May 27, 1997 photo. [AP]

Diana, leaves Kensington Palace in London July 12 1996 after they announced they have agreed on a swift divorce.  [AP]


Diana wrote a letter to Paul Burrell (pictured) claiming there was a plot to kill her. [CNN]

The wreckage of Princess Diana's car in Paris.  [AP]

Diana, al Fayed and driver Henri Paul died in a high-speed crash on August 31, 1997, as their Mercedes was pursued by paparazzi on motorbikes through central Paris. Egyptian tycoon Mohamed al Fayed lost his bid to have the photographers chasing the car tried for manslaughter when France's highest court ruled they were too far away to have caused the accident.

Friday's trial comes amid renewed controversy in Britain over Diana's death following the revelation by her former butler Paul Burrell of a secret letter in which the princess predicted her own death.

Burrell said the princess had given him a letter written in October 1996 in which she said someone was planning to kill her in a car crash, in order to allow her estranged husband Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, to remarry.

The report led Mohamed al Fayed, who has repeatedly claimed Diana and his son were murdered by the British secret services because their relationship embarrassed the royal household, to renew his call for a full public inquiry.

The British government has rejected the demand.

Evidence at the initial inquiry showed that the driver Henri Paul had been drunk at the time of the accident, something his parents deny.

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