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TERRORISM

French police warn public after rumours of Paris attack

French police have told the public not to spread false information on the internet after rumours of a planned terror attack in Paris at the weekend were spread on social media.

French police warn public after rumours of Paris attack
Photo: AFP

The messages were passed around by text and social media from Friday and warned everyone to stay away from certain parts of Paris because an attack, like the one which took place in November, was about to be carried out at the weekend.

The messages often cited “a friend who is a policeman” as a source of the information and warned that the stores and Grands Magasins shopping centres near the Opera were to be targeted over the weekend.

Each message sent between friends and family urged people to stay away from the Place de Clichy, Opéra, Pigalle area over the weekend.

“I received that from my boys. You never know…” read one of the typical messages. “Info absolutely verifiable, certain, certain, certain, not yet on the television (the journalists are not allowed to talk about it) Huge threat of a terror attack between Place de Clichy, Opéra and Pigalle. Avoid…”

 

Plusieurs pers. ns signalent un msg qui tourne à Paris sur des rumeurs d'attentats. Il a tout du hoax, attention pic.twitter.com/LF8hkGSihy

— Samuel Laurent (@samuellaurent) 11 mars 2016

As a result of the online panic, French police were forced to issued messages to try to calm fears but also to warn the public to ignore false rumours.

“Do not spread rumours. For any information, consult the official websites,” read the tweet from Paris police at the weekend.

“The terrorist threat is still high since November 13th, but there is no particular risk this weekend,” a police source told AFP, adding that these kind of rumours have emerged on a frequent basis since the November attacks.

The rumours appear to be linked to the arrest of four teenage girls on Friday over an alleged plot to attack a concert hall in Paris, in the same way the November 13th gunmen attacked the Bataclan theatre.

Two of the girls, 15 and 17 years old, were charged with terror offences after exchanging messages on Facebook in which they claimed they wanted to launch an attack similar to those in November which targeted the Bataclan concert venue as well as bars, restaurants and a football stadium, police said.

The girls were arrested on Wednesday and appeared before an anti-terror judge on Friday on charges of criminal conspiracy in connection with a terrorist undertaking.

Paris prosecutors said the discussions of the attack were in the preliminary stage and “neither weapons, nor explosive substances have been discovered”.

 

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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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