French inmate on radicalization watch list escapes custody

PARIS (AP) — Police in western France searched Wednesday for a 21-year-old man on a radicalization watch list who escaped from a prison vehicle during a transfer to a hospital.

An organization of French labor unions, Workers’ Force, said the handcuffed inmate shoved the prison employees accompanying him and got into a car waiting for him in front of the hospital.

French media said the prisoner was jailed for theft and not for terror-related offenses. The main newspaper for western France, Ouest-France, identified him as Anthony Pondaven, of Landerneau, and quoted a local prosecutor as saying Pondaven had a long record of delinquency.

Police were still searching for the getaway car, the prisoner and his accomplices 12 hours after his getaway.

The SNPFO union criticized corrections authorities for not assigning a police escort to provide security while Pondaven was being taken from Brest prison to the city’s Morvan Hospital.

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