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French Police Block Investigators from Searching Presidential Palace

Police in Paris have blocked two investigating judges from carrying out a rare search of the presidential palace, as part of a probe into the 1995 death of a French judge in Djibouti.

The judges were seeking Wednesday to enter the African department at the Elysee Palace, and not the offices of President Jacques Chirac. They are examining claims of official pressure on investigators probing the death of Judge Bernard Borrel.

Judge Borrel's widow alleges that Djibouti President Ismael Omar Guelleh ordered the murder of her husband, an advisor to Djibouti's Justice Ministry. She has accused the French Foreign Ministry of pressuring investigators.

It is not clear what role the investigators suspect the palace played in the case. But President Jacques Chirac's office said the French Constitution protects a sitting president from testifying or being targeted in a probe.

French investigators initially supported Djibouti's claim that the judge committed suicide, but later findings showed he may have been murdered.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.