The presiding judge at France's highest court rejected Friday an appeal by former Gestapo officer Klaus "Butcher of Lyon" Barbie of his conviction for crimes against humanity and confirmed his life prison term.

French Advocate General Emile Robert, acting for the state, had asked Presiding Judge Jean Ledoux's panel on Thursday to reject the appeal and reaffirm the July 4 conviction and sentence handed down to Barbie, 74, at the Rhone Assize Court in Lyon.

Barbie was chief of the Gestapo, the Nazi secret police, in the southern city of Lyon in World War II. Testimony showed Barbie deported hundreds of Jews to Nazi death camps and ordered the torture of captured resistance members.

Ledoux, presiding judge of the Court of Cassation which is France's highest court, flatly rejected the appeal by Barbie.