Strange behaviour of shell_exec

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I have a problem with the special characters on the function shell_exec  
(under Linux Debian with php 4.3.10-16):

     $msg = '"'."Léà t'es où?".'"';

     $output = shell_exec('java myClass'.' '.$msg);

All the special characters in $msg like é or à are turned into the  
strange characters with shell_exec function. Whereas under the shell if  
I type :

     java myClass "Léà t'es où?"

It works fine with all the special characters.

Is there a way to walk arround this problem?

Thank you in avance


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