France overturns Corsican shepherd's life sentence

Yvan Colonna in court 19.5.10
Image caption Yvan Colonna has always denied involvement in the killing

A Corsican shepherd jailed for life for killing the top French official on the island in 1998 has had his sentence overturned.

The Court of Cassation - France's highest judicial court - annulled Yvan Colonna's sentence on the grounds of procedural irregularities.

The decision paves the way for a retrial in the case.

Colonna has denied playing any part in the killing, which was the most serious political murder in France in decades.

The retrial will be heard by a special criminal court composed solely of judges, French media reported.

A Paris court sentenced Colonna to life in 2007 for killing governor Claude Erignac.

Mr Erignac was shot three times in the back of the head as he walked to a concert hall in Corsica's capital, Ajaccio.

Corsica has suffered occasional incidents of separatist violence over the past 30 years.

Colonna was finally captured in a shepherd's hut in Porto-Pollo in 2003.

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