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Sale of guillotine divides France

AFP  |  Paris 

A 150-year-old with "a few dents on the blade" will go under the hammer in today.

The 10-foot (three-metre) tall instrument of execution which was used to dispatch criminals in until 1977 is in working order. But the Drouot auction house insisted that the model was built as a replica and has never been used to behead anyone.

The sale of guillotines has been highly controversial in where the death penalty was only abolished in 1981, with the French auction watchdog already objecting to the auction.

"They should not be selling this guillotine," a told the Parisien newspaper. "Objects like the clothes of people who were deported to the (Nazi death) camps and instruments of torture are sensitive."

That did not, however, stop another going for 220,000 euros (USD 234,000) in the same saleroom in 2011 when US pop star was reportedly among the bidders. Nor does the watchdog have the power to stop the proceedings because the is part of a bankruptcy sale.

With a reserve price of between 5,000 and 8,000 euros, auctioneers expect plenty of interest. However, a similar apparatus valued at 40,000 euros failed to sell in the western city of four years ago. And in 2012 the French culture ministry stepped in to stop the sale of 812 objects belonging to the last French in

had executed 200 people there when it was part of France, most of them fighters for Algerian independence.

Guillotines, sometimes known as "The National Razor" (Le Rasoir National) or "The Patriotic Shortener" (La Raccourcisseuse Patriotique) in French, were first adapted as a "humane" alternative to hanging, when many of the condemned had long, lingering deaths on the scaffold.

They became notorious in the Terror that followed the French revolution when more than 16,000 people were beheaded between the summers of 1793 and 1794.

The last person to die on the in was Tunisian Hamida Djandoubi, who was executed in a Marseille prison in September 1977 after being convicted of the torture and murder of a young woman.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, July 11 2018. 16:25 IST
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