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France media attacker jailed for 25 years

A French court has sentenced a man who wounded a photographer in a shooting in 2013 to 25 years behind bars, in a case that predated the string of jihadist attacks that has since struck the country.

France media attacker jailed for 25 years
Abdelhakim Dekhar has been sentenced to 25 years in jail. Photo: AFP/ 17 Juin Media/Faites Enter L'accuse

Abdelhakim Dekhar, now 52, was arrested in November 2013 following a major manhunt after he broke into the headquarters of the BFMTV channel.

There, he threatened journalist Philippe Antoine with a shotgun, and said: “Next time, I won't miss.”

Three days later, still on the run, he managed to stage a shooting attack at the offices of left-wing newspaper Liberation, also in Paris, that left a photographer's assistant seriously hurt.

There was also a separate incident where shots were fired at the headquarters of the Societe Generale bank.

The court found him guilty of attempted murder of Philippe Antoine, now chief editor at BFMTV, and Cesar Sebastien, the wounded photographer's assistant at Liberation.

Prosecutor Bernard Farret had argued that “spite” had been Dekhar's main motive, adding that the shooter harboured “resentment against society, the state and capitalism”.

Dekhar, sentenced on Friday, was considering filing an appeal, his lawyer Hugo Levy said.

Of the total, Dekhar will only be eligible for parole once he has served two thirds of his sentence.

During his trial, Dekhar repeatedly evoked political arguments, raising topics such as France's colonisation of Algeria and social problems in the French suburbs.

He had also claimed he was suicidal and “desperate” for the police to end his life.

Dekhar had been jailed in the 1990s for his role in a “Bonnie-and-Clyde” style multiple murder and left rambling letters denouncing conspiracies and media manipulation.

The case predated the January 2015 jihadist attack on the premises of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which left 12 people dead.

On November 13th that year, gunmen and suicide bombers left 130 people dead in a coordinated attack targeting several Paris locations including a concert hall.

The attacks profoundly shook France, triggering a state of emergency that was lifted only this month after President Emmanuel Macron signed acontroversial new anti-terror law.

MEDIA

France slams Belarus’ ‘arbitrary’ crackdown on foreign media

France on Sunday condemned an "arbitrary" crackdown against the media in Belarus after the accreditation of several journalists working for foreign media was withdrawn in the wake of disputed presidential elections.

France slams Belarus' 'arbitrary' crackdown on foreign media
Belarus opposition supporters protesting against disputed presidential elections results in Minsk on August 27. Photo: Sergei Gapon/AFP
“The arbitrary measures taken by the Belarusian authorities against journalists violate press freedom,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement.
   
“I call on the Belarusian authorities to reverse these measures without delay,” he added, saying that the crisis in Belarus requires “the establishment of an inclusive national dialogue”.
   
“Repressive measures against journalists cannot help,” he said.
   
Belarusian authorities on Saturday withdrew the accreditation of journalists working for several foreign media, including AFP, ahead of a major demonstration Sunday challenging the results of the presidential election.
   
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, has faced unprecedented protests since the disputed August 9 election in which he claimed a landslide victory with 80 percent of the vote in a poll
that the opposition says was rigged.
   
 
Belarus government spokesman Anatoly Glaz said the decision to revoke the media accreditations was taken on the recommendation of the country's counter-terrorism unit.
   
He did not specify how many journalists were affected by the measure, but foreign media including the BBC, Reuters and Radio Liberty reported the withdrawal of accreditation of several of their journalists.
   
Belarusian journalists working for Agence France-Presse also had their accreditation revoked.
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