PARIS, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- A French court ordered former Socialist party leader Martine Aubry to appear before a judge next week to face allegations of involuntary manslaughter.
The possible charges stem from Aubry's term as head of the government's labor relations agency and involve the relatively long time it took France to ban the use of asbestos in the public sector.
The judges in the case have been hearing testimony from asbestos workers and are turning their inquiry toward the actions of the French government as far back as the 1970s, Radio France International said.
RFI said the cancer risk of asbestos was known in the 1950s but the material wasn't prohibited until 1997. Aubry was Director of Labor Relations in the early 1990s.
RFI said two of Aubry's successors in the government -- Olivier Dutheillet de Lamothe and former Director of General Health Jean-Francois Girard -- have also been implicated in the case.
Aubry called the potential charges "incomprehensible" and said she always worked to protect French workers. She said she will ask the court to take the charges off the table.