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France shocked over Berlin ‘martyrs’ art show with image of Bataclan attacker

A Berlin art installation dedicated to "martyrs" has prompted outrage by including one of the Paris jihadist attackers alongside the likes of Martin Luther King and Socrates, with the French embassy calling the display "deeply shocking".

France shocked over Berlin 'martyrs' art show with image of Bataclan attacker
Photo: AFP
The so-called “Martyr Museum” by a Danish art collective shows the portraits of 20 people throughout history who “died for their convictions” accompanied by short biographies.
 
The exhibition includes an image of French jihadist Ismael Omar Mostefai, one of three gunmen and suicide bombers who stormed the Bataclan concert venue in Paris in 2015, killing 90 people.
 
On display next to his portrait is an entrance ticket to the Bataclan.
   
Also sharing a wall with US civil rights icon King and Greek philosopher Socrates is Mohammed Atta, the pilot who slammed a passenger plane into one of New York's World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001.
   
The weeklong installation by the art group, The Other Eye of the Tiger, was inaugurated last Wednesday at the Kunstquartier Bethanien art centre.
   
It sparked howls of outrage in German and French media and on social networks.
   
The French embassy in Berlin expressed “consternation” and said it found the decision to include the attackers “deeply shocking”.
   
“While keeping in mind our attachment to the freedom of artistic creation, we strongly condemn the confusion here between martyrdom and terrorism,” it said in a statement.
   
But the art collective defended the show, saying that it condemned any kind of violence or terrorism and that it was merely taking a wide look at the usage of the term “martyr”.
   
“All the martyrs in the artwork have been appointed martyr by either a state, religion or an organisation. None of the martyrs have been appointed by the artists,” it said in a statement.
 
Berlin city hall authorities distanced themselves from the project, saying in a statement they did “not support it” and had not provided any financial assistance.
   
An earlier version of the “Martyr Museum” in Copenhagen in 2016 also caused controversy, with critics filing a police complaint accusing the artists of “encouraging terror”.

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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