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france law cremated remains

Je suis coupable… of keeping ashes?!

france law cremated remains

Our Gallic cousins appear to have a different attitude to keeping ashes at home, well I say different attitude – it is actually illegal!

In fact 72-year old widow has been convicted by a local court for keeping ashes of her deceased husband. She missed him and she wanted him near by, so last year she unsealed the family grave and brought him home.

However this was no excuse for hard-nosed tyrannical judge (I am hamming it up a bit here) who found her guilty of violating Article 16 of the so-called ‘Sueur’ law. It imposes strict rules on storage of cremation ashes, stating that ashes can only be kept: “in a funeral urn that can be buried in a tomb, or placed in a columbarium, or in a tomb sealed inside a cemetery or funeral site.”.  Oddly enough it is quite a new law – coming into force in December 2008

However the law does allow for scattering ashes ­ “[cremation ashes can be] dispersed in part of a cemetery or funeral site designed for the purpose” or “dispersed in nature, except on public roads.” Blimey  I am glad they specifically excluded roads, that being such a popular spot ‘un all

The poor lady was blissfully unaware she had broken any law “That’s my husband, he was mine,” she told the judge “I wouldn’t have done it if I had known the law, but he is my husband, he belongs to me,” .

Thankfully, dispite of the poor lady being found guilty, she was sent home without a fine.

I was left wondering how it got to court? Who reported her? Was she arrested and the bailed? Why would the French make such a law? And was it really in the public interest to prosecute? Oh well at least she wasn’t punished.

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