France won't extradite pilots who fled cocaine conviction in Dominican Republic

France's government says it won't extradite two French pilots who escaped the Dominican Republic to avoid 20-year prison sentences for cocaine trafficking.

Dominican authorities said Tuesday they would seek the men's return to face justice. French government spokesman Stephane Le Foll said on RTL radio Wednesday that France will stick by its tradition of refusing to extradite its citizens.

He insisted that the French government wasn't involved in the unusual escape by pilots Pascal Jean Fauret and Bruno Odos. He noted that the pilots are under investigation by French authorities in a parallel probe into the drug affair.

The two men fled the Dominican Republic last week despite a court order to remain in the country pending an appeal of their conviction. They have denied wrongdoing.