Organisation armée secrète
OAS — or Organisation armée secrète,
("Organization of the Secret Army")
was a short-lived french far-right nationalist militant and underground organization during the Algerian War (1954-62). The members of a French army secret organization, the OAS believed de Gaulle had betrayed France
by yielding Algeria to the Algerian Nationalists.
The OAS's motto was "L’Algérie est française et le restera"
("Algeria is French and will remain so")
1962: Ex-general escapes death sentence
A military court in Paris has sentenced the leader of the extremist Secret Army Organisation (OAS)
to life imprisonment.
It was widely expected he would receive the death penalty for leading an organisation violently opposed to Algerian independence that has carried out acts of terrorism in France in the last few years.The panel of nine judges at the Palais de Justice had found him guilty of five capital charges, including planning the failed coup in Algiers in April last year. But to everyone's amazement, the presiding judge announced there were "extenuating circumstances" surrounding the case.
After his arrest OAS collapsed.
A political cartoon by Jacques Kamb in the newspaper l’Humanité. The caption reads,
“And like that, you believe that they are going to take us for sans-culottes?”
Plan to kill French president
The "extenuating circumstances" that saved Salan's life have not been made public. But the court must have taken on board the pleas made by Salan's lawyer, M Tixier-Vignacour. He had painted a picture of a French patriot and respected general fighting for French interests in Algeria.
Since its creation in 1961, the OAS has embarked on a campaign of terrorism in Algeria and France including the attempted assassination in September 1961 of the French President, Charles de Gaulle. Only three days ago French police said they had foiled another attempt on General de Gaulle's life when they arrested 16 members of the OAS. Nevertheless, the organisation's activities failed to stop President de Gaulle agreeing a ceasefire with nationalists represented by the Algerian Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN) in March.
This follows a bitter war between the FLN and the French Army that resulted in the collapse of the French government in 1958 and the return of de Gaulle as head of state.