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TERRORISM

Suspected fake Paris attacks victim tried for fraud

A man who claimed to have survived the 2015 massacre at the Bataclan theatre in Paris, describing his brush with death in vivid detail, was tried for fraud Friday after it emerged he was nowhere near the scene.

Suspected fake Paris attacks victim tried for fraud
Cedric Rey's account of the November 13, 2015, attack was used by several French media, including AFP.
   
The 29-year-old ambulance driver said he was having a drink with two friends outside the Bataclan when three Islamic State jihadists stormed the venue during a concert, launching a three-hour bomb and gun attack that left 90 people dead.
   
Rey claimed that one of the gunmen aimed his rifle at him and fired but that a pregnant woman, who was walking past, “took the bullets meant for me”.
   
After the attack he sought compensation from a state fund for the victims of terrorism but his application was turned down after he failed to supply documents proving his claim. 
 
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He also joined the Life for Paris survivors' group and, like several of those who escaped death, got a tattoo commemorating the attack — in his case of Marianne, symbol of the French Republic, with the Bataclan in the
background.
   
At least seven people have been found guilty of fraud or attempted fraud over the Paris attacks, which also targeted the Stade de France stadium and several bars and restaurants in eastern Paris, killing 230 people in total.
 
Discrepancies
 
Police became suspicious about Rey's story after noting several discrepancies, including the fact that no pregnant woman was killed in the Bataclan assault.
   
They then traced his whereabouts that night using his mobile phone data — and discovered he was about 30 kilometres (20 miles) from the Bataclan when the attack began and showed up outside the theatre around midnight, after it had ended.
   
Rey, who now lives in the French territory of New Caledonia in the South Pacific, has admitted to fabricating the story.
   
During a return visit to mainland France in October he handed himself in to police.
   
He was remanded in custody pending his trial and ordered to undergo psychological tests.
   
Charged with attempt fraud over his compensation claim, Rey faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
 
His lawyer has refused to comment on the case and said his client no longer wants to speak to the media.

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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