Hermann Fuster, the man who assaulted Nicolas Sarkozy in June, has apologized in the media, saying he never meant to attack the president. He has said the incident has convinced him to stop smoking marijuana.

"/> Hermann Fuster, the man who assaulted Nicolas Sarkozy in June, has apologized in the media, saying he never meant to attack the president. He has said the incident has convinced him to stop smoking marijuana.

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CRIME

Sarkozy attacker apologizes to president

Hermann Fuster, the man who assaulted Nicolas Sarkozy in June, has apologized in the media, saying he never meant to attack the president. He has said the incident has convinced him to stop smoking marijuana.

Fuster, 32, who was given a six-month suspended jail sentence for grabbing the French leader’s jacket during a meet-and-greet session on June 30th and almost pulling him to the ground, gave interviews with several media outlets saying he “sincerely regrets” his actions and that he “is not a violent person.”

“I first tried to shake his hand … then I wanted to tap him on the shoulder,” Fuster said in an interview with website 20minutes.fr. “But the second I touched his suit, the guards behind me grabbed me and threw me back.”

He said he grabbed hold of Sarkozy’s jacket to keep from falling “like anyone would who is toppling over” and the French leader was dragged down with him.

Sarkozy had come to the south-western French town of Brax to attend a meeting of mayors and welcome back two French hostages who had been released after 18 months in Taliban captivity. During the incident, he would have likely fallen to the ground had he not been able to catch himself on a metal barricade.

The president was quickly surrounded by stunned bodyguards who also immediately immobilized Fuster, a caretaker and receptionist at a local conservatory in the nearby town of Agen. He is currently on suspension from his job.

The president himself did not press charges although Fuster could have received a three-year sentence and had to pay tens of thousands in fines for assaulting a public figure. It was the first time Sarkozy had been physically assaulted at close quarters.

Despite the media circus and the job suspension, Fuster said there has been a silver lining.

“I’ve stopped smoking cannabis and I go out now with friends instead of staying home by myself,” he said, adding that he didn’t want to become a poster-child for anti-Sarkozy forces.

Still, he did have a message for the president.

“I would tell him to listen to the people who elected him,” he told newspaper Le Parisien. “I didn’t vote for him myself, but I have to think about all those workers who believed his promises and who are disappointed today.”

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CRIME

Hackers post French hospital patient data online

Hackers who crippled a French hospital and stole a trove of data last month have released personal records of patients online, officials have confirmed.

Hackers post French hospital patient data online

The cyberattackers demanded a multimillion dollar ransom from the Corbeil-Essonnes hospital near Paris a month ago, but the institution refused to pay.

The hospital said the hackers had now dumped medical scans and lab analyses along with the social security numbers of patients.

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the unspeakable disclosure of hacked data,” health minister Fran├žois Braun tweeted on Sunday.

Hospitals around the world have been facing increasing attacks from ransomware groups, particularly since the pandemic stretched resources to breaking point.

The problem has been acute in France, where officials estimated early last year that healthcare institutions were facing on average an attack every week.

President Emmanuel Macron last year called the attacks during the pandemic a “crisis within a crisis” and announced an extra one billion euros for cybersecurity.

During last month’s attack, the Corbeil-Essonnes hospital shut down its emergency services and sent many patients to other institutions.

At one point, officials said the only technology still working was the telephone.

Rather than selling the trove of data, the hacker has dumped at least some of it for download on the “dark web” — a hidden part of the internet that requires special software to access.

Analysts said it seemed to be a tactic to put pressure on the hospital, even though public institutions are banned by French law from paying ransoms.

Cybersecurity researcher Damien Bancal, who revealed the leak and has seen the files, told AFP the worry is that other criminals will now launch scams with the data that has already been divulged.

In response to the leak on the weekend, the hospital severely restricted access to its systems and told patients to be extremely vigilant when receiving emails, text messages or phone calls.

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