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French prosecutors demand trial for police officers accused of anal rape with baton

French prosecutors on Wednesday recommended a trial for three police officers in a notorious case of police brutality involving a young black man allegedly sodomised with a baton.

French prosecutors demand trial for police officers accused of anal rape with baton
Youth worker Théo Luhaka, left, was left with lifelong injuries. Photo: AFP

Théo Luhaka, who was 22 at the time, was left disabled after suffering severe anal injuries from a police baton, as well as wounds to his head and face, during a stop-and-search operation in the Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois in February 2017.

The prosecutor's office for the area said the officer accused of leading the attack should be put on trial for “assault with a weapon” leading to “mutilation or permanent partial disability”.

It also called for two other officers to be tried for “group violence”.

Luhaka, who became a symbol of rough policing tactics used against youths in the high-rise housing estates that ring Paris, had accused one of the officers of raping him with a baton.

READ ALSO How the 'yellow vests' forced France to have a national conversation about police violence

 

The officer has denied the allegations, saying he had aimed his baton at his legs.

Denouncing an “extremely violent and humiliating attack”, Luhaka's lawyer Antoine Vey said on Wednesday he was “relieved to see that, despite a lot of pressure during the investigation, the case has not been buried”.

A medical report in 2019 found that the injuries Luhaka suffered as a result of the altercation would require life-long treatment.

However, the prosecutor's office said in a statement there was not enough evidence to support a charge of “aggravated rape”.

A final decision on whether to put the officers on trial will be taken by an investigating magistrate.

In June, thousands of French people took part in the global Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the death of black American George Floyd at the hands of US police.

READ ALSO Who is Adama Traore and why are there protests around France in his name?

The protesters said Floyd's death echoed incidents in France, where several people have died or were seriously injured during police operations.

In July, three officers were charged with manslaughter over the death of delivery man Cedric Chouviat who was held in a chokehold during his arrest for a traffic offence.

Campaigners also continue to seek justice in the case of Adama Traore, a young black man who died in police custody in 2016.

Last month, Paris prosecutors launched an investigation into allegations of racism, homophobia and violence within the city's police force by a journalist who worked undercover as an officer for two years.

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CRIME

French police shoot dead knife-wielding man at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport

French Border police at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris shot - and killed - man who was wielding a knife in the public area of the airport on Wednesday.

French police shoot dead knife-wielding man at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport

Border police reportedly shot a man with aggressive behaviour who brandished a knife in the public area of the Charles de Gaulle airport outside of Paris, on Wednesday morning, police and airport sources told AFP.

“This morning officers neutralised a threatening individual in possession of a knife at the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport,” the Paris police department said on its Twitter account.

A source close to the investigation told BFMTV that the man – who was likely homeless – went towards the officers, despite being asked several times to put the knife down. In response, police shot the man in the abdomen, and the individual later died.

The incident took place in the busy, public area of terminal 2F around 8:20 am, when “a homeless man started bothering security agents and border police were called in to remove him”.

Initially the man left while yelling curses but he soon returned and brought out a knife, when one of the officers fired his weapon.

An AFP photographer who witnessed the scene said “a large person of colour brandished something that looked like a knife at the police”.

“He was ordered to stop but kept advancing toward them, and an officer fired a single shot.”

The man was quickly put on a stretcher and evacuated, the photographer said. 

Security forces have been on high alert for terrorist attacks since a wave of jihadist killings that have killed more than 250 people since 2015, often by so-called “lone wolves” who often target police.

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