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CRIME

French MP hit with fine for Hitler Roma rant

A French lawmaker who was caught on camera saying Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler "did not kill enough" Roma gypsies was fined €3,000 by an appeal court in France this week.

French MP hit with fine for Hitler Roma rant
A French lawmaker was fined €3,000 for defending crimes against humanity. Photo: Screengrab

A French court on Tuesday fined an MP €3,000 for saying that Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler "maybe did not kill enough" Roma.

The appeals court in the Western town of Angers slapped the fine, equivalent to $4,000, on Gilles Bourdouleix, who is also mayor of the nearby town of Cholet.

The 54-year-old was involved in an altercation in July last year during a visit to a field in his commune that was occupied illegally by a travellers' community.

Accused of racism and assailed by Hitler salutes, Bourdouleix mumbled to a journalist that "maybe Hitler didn't kill enough of them".

A local French paper carried a report the next day with his comments and the resulting uproar forced him to resign from his party, the centrist UDI.

His comment sparked huge outrage, with then Interior Minister Manuel Valls calling for the lawmaker to be "severely punished" for the comments.

In January, he was convicted for condoning a crime against humanity and fined 3,000 euros but the fine was suspended.

But both the prosecution and Bourdouleix appealed, the latter saying he was innocent given the context in which he spoke. Bourdouleix also alleged the recording was tampered with.

The lawmaker had made controversial remarks about Roma in the past, including in November 2010, when he threatened to drive a truck through one of their caravan camps, and last November, when he said France was facing a "new invasion" from the community.

Confrontations between French authorities and Roma erupt frequently.

In August 2013 a Roma rights group based in southern France filed a police complaint against a Facebook page entitled "Adopt a Gypsy", for what it called the "flood of hatred" brought on by the page on the social networking site.

And later that month the cover story of a French magazine headlined "Roma overdose" about the problems caused by the Roma community caused outrage. 

SEE ALSO: Facebook under fire over 'Adopt a gypsy' page

France has a policy of systematically dismantling illegal camps and repatriating Roma of Bulgarian and Romanian nationality – a policy whose legality has been questioned by the European Union, the United Nations' human rights arm and other watchdogs.

The Roma, a nomadic people whose ancestors left India centuries ago, have long suffered from discrimination and are frequently accused of carrying out petty crimes.

They were killed in their hundreds of thousands by the Nazis during the Second World War, alongside Jews and homosexuals.

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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 François 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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