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TERRORISM

France to spend €20m on embassy security

France is to shell out millions of euros on increasing security around its embassies in Africa and the Middle East, the French foreign office announced on Wednesday. The move comes after a car bomb attack on its Libyan embassy last month.

France to spend €20m on embassy security
Libyan security services and civilians gather across the street after a car bomb attack on the French embassy in Tripoli, Libya on April 23rd. Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP

France is to spend €20 million on boosting security at its diplomatic missions in Africa and the Middle East after a car bomb attack last month on its embassy in Libya, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

The April 23 attack wounded two French guards and caused extensive damage.

"We must continue to upgrade the security at our facilities, acquire mobile protection equipment and adapted vehicles, increase the security budget and allocate more staff to security," ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot said.

He said the new measures would be partly funded through the sale of properties and the re-allocation of resources, but did not elaborate.

France has increased the alert level at its embassies in the region due to the attack in Libya, its military intervention in Mali and the breaking up of an Al-Qaeda-linked cell in Egypt that reportedly planned to bomb the US and French embassies in Cairo.

US President Barack Obama last week also urged Congress to fund upgrades to US embassy security around the world amid controversy over the handling of the September 11 attack last year on the US mission in the Libyan city of Benghazi that left four Americans dead, including ambassador Chris Stevens.

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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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