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PARIS TERROR ATTACKS

TERRORISM

Over 100 held on terror charges in France this year

Six months on from the Paris terror attacks the French government has defended its response and the ongoing state of emergency saying over 100 have been arrested on terror charges.

Over 100 held on terror charges in France this year
Photo: AFP

France has arrested 101 people since the start of the year over “direct links to terrorism”, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in an interview to be published Friday, exactly six months after the Paris attacks.

“We are doing everything we can to protect the people of France, but the threat level is still very high,” Cazeneuve told the Ebra media group, which publishes several dailies.

Since 2013, 15 planned attacks have been foiled, he added.

“At the European level, thanks in great measure to France's impetus, progress is being made,” he said.

“Aside from the closely coordinated police and judicial French-Belgian efforts that helped us carry out the recent arrests, the European Parliament has finally adopted the PNR (Passenger Name Record) system which will enhance our detection capabilities of jihadists' movements,” he said.

The European Parliament voted last month to adopt the US-style measure to force airlines to share passenger data with EU states.

Cazeneuve meanwhile said that border checks had been carried out on 33 million people at France's frontiers in the past six months, and that 17,500 people had been refused entry to the country.

Asked about plans to provide security for major events to be held in France in the coming months, Cazeneuve said that “exceptional” measures would be put in place, “in order to ensure the highest possible security.

“That's one of the reasons why we extended the state of emergency until July 26, that is after the end of the football Euro 2016 championship and the (cycling) Tour de France.”

Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Monday announced plans to create regional de-radicalisation centres, in response to last year's terror attacks that killed a total of 147 people.

One hundred and thirty people in the November 13 attacks in Paris, after 17 died in January in three days of violence starting with a massacre at the offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

The government believes nearly 9,300 people in France have been radicalised and are capable of violent actions.

The anti-terror plan will cost an additional €40 million ($45.5 million) by 2018 on top of current funding and aims to ramp up existing efforts to try to help people already in jihadist networks or those likely to join such groups.

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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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