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TERRORISM

France charges man allegedly linked to Barcelona attack

A man has been charged in France over alleged links to a suspect in last year's deadly jihadist attacks in Barcelona and a nearby seaside resort, a French legal source said Friday.

France charges man allegedly linked to Barcelona attack
Tributes on the Ramblas in Barcelona following the August terror attacks. Photo: AFP

The man, in his early 30s, was detained Tuesday in the southwestern town of Albi on suspicion of links to Moroccan Driss Oukabir, alleged to have rented the van used in the Barcelona attack.

A total of 16 people were killed when a van drove into crowds on the popular Las Ramblas boulevard in the heart of Barcelona and in a knife attack in the nearby resort of Cambrils last August.

The source said investigations would determine the nature of links the suspect had with Oukabir, who was arrested shortly after attacks which were claimed by the Islamic State group.

Two other two men who were detained in France on Tuesday have been released for lack of evidence, the source said.

The arrests were made during a joint operation with French and Spanish police in the south and southwest of France.

The identity papers of Oukabir were allegedly used to hire the van used in the Barcelona attack and driven by Younes Abouyaaqoub, who was shot dead by police along with four accomplices after an attack the following day in the coastal town of Cambrils.

READ ALSO: France arrests three linked to Barcelona attacks

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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