President Nicolas Sarkozy called Thursday for an Islamist serial killer to be buried in France without argument after Algeria refused his body and his hometown's mayor raised objections.
"He was French. Let him be buried and let's not have any arguments about it," Sarkozy told BFMTV news channel, referring to Mohamed Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian origin, who killed seven people in a series of gun attacks.
"I've said what I think of Mohamed Merah, who behaved in a monstrous way," Sarkozy said of the gunman shot dead by police at his Toulouse flat on March 22.
"I said that his father's protests were deeply disgraceful and indecent. As head of state, I would rather Mohamed Merah had been taken alive. We did everything to do that, the police did a remarkable job and I felt moreover that the controversy was shameful," Sarkozy said.
Merah's father and others have criticised the deadly police raid on Merah's flat, saying he could have been taken alive.