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TERRORISM

Basque party’s French arm calls it quits

Basque nationalist party Batasuna on Thursday announced its dissolution in France, where it continued to operate after being banned in Spain for alleged ties to armed separatist group ETA.

"We are announcing the dissolution of Batasuna," two members of the party, Maite Goyenetxe and Jean Claude Aguerre, told journalists in Bayonne, the main city in France's Basque region.

The move comes after ETA in 2011 announced it had abandoned violence following a four-decade campaign for an independent homeland that claimed more than 800 lives.

ETA has said it is ready to disband under certain conditions.

"We affirm that we will achieve the project of building Euskal Herria (the Basque Country) only by political means, in the face of the oppressive French and Spanish states," Goyenetxe said.

The traditional Basque homeland straddles the French and Spanish borders and Batasuna had remained active as a legal political party in France after it was banned in Spain.

In Spain, former members and supporters of Batasuna have instead rallied around a left-wing separatist coalition, Euskal Herria Bildu, which was created last year.

The coalition came second in regional elections in October, winning 21 seats while the conservative Basque Nationalist Party, which wants greater autonomy for the northwestern Spanish region, took 27.

A French Basque activist, Aurore Martin, was released on bail in Spain on December 22 after being held on charges of participating in a terrorist organisation, after she allegedly took part in public meetings in the country as a member of Batasuna.

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CRIME

Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim’s x-ray

A Paris court on Wednesday convicted a surgeon for trying to sell an X-Ray image of a wounded arm of a woman who survived the 2015 terror attacks in the French capital.

Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim's x-ray

Found guilty of violating medical secrecy, renowned orthopaedic surgeon Emmanuel Masmejean must pay the victim €5,000 or face two months in jail, judges ordered.

Masmejean, who works at the Georges-Pompidou hospital in western Paris, posted the image of a young woman’s forearm penetrated by a Kalashnikov bullet on marketplace Opensea in late 2021.

The site allows its roughly 20 million users to trade non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – certificates of ownership of an artwork that are stored on a “blockchain” similar to the technology used to secure cryptocurrencies.

In the file’s description, the surgeon wrote that the young woman he had operated on had “lost her boyfriend in the attack” on the Bataclan concert hall, the focus of the November 2015 gun and bomb assault in which jihadists killed 130 people.

The X-Ray image never sold for the asking price of $2,776, and was removed from Opensea after being revealed by investigative website Mediapart in January.

Masmejean claimed at a September court hearing that he had been carrying out an “experiment” by putting a “striking and historic medical image” online – while acknowledging that it had been “idiocy, a mistake, a blunder”.

The court did not find him guilty of two further charges of abuse of personal data and illegally revealing harmful personal information.

Nor was he barred from practicing as prosecutors had urged, with the lead judge saying it would be “disproportionate and inappropriate” to inflict such a “social death” on the doctor.

The victim’s lawyer Elodie Abraham complained of a “politically correct” judgement.

“It doesn’t bother anyone that there’s been such a flagrant breach of medical secrecy. It’s not a good message for doctors,” Abraham said.

Neither Masmejean, who has been suspended from his hospital job, nor the victim were present for Wednesday’s ruling.

The surgeon may yet face professional consequences after appearing before the French medical association in September, his lawyer Ivan Terel said.

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