‘Dangerous Precedent for Anybody Attempting to Document Police Abuse’

Calais, France: Loan Torondel posted a tweet as he was monitoring the humanitarian situation of migrants and refugees.

The tweet, posted in January of 2018, contained a photograph showing French cops standing over a man who was sitting on a sleeping bag. The caption suggested the cops were about to take away the man’s blanket despite the cold temperatures.

For posting the photo of the two cops on Twitter, Torondel received a convicted on September 25th of 2018 for defamation and he is now trying to appeal the conviction. The trial is set for 27 May, at 2pm in the Appeals Court of Douai.

Katia Roux, Advocacy Officer on Human Rights Defenders at Amnesty International France, said:

“Loan Torondel has done nothing wrong and his defamation conviction must be overturned. His prosecution exposes the way in which human rights defenders dedicated to providing aid to people seeking safety in Europe are harassed and targeted through the criminal justice system simply for acting with humanity and compassion.”

“If the conviction is allowed to stand, it will set a dangerous precedent for anybody attempting to document police abuse in France. It will also have a chilling effect on the work of people defending the rights of migrants and refugees and leave them in an even more precarious situation.”

“Criminal defamation laws that inhibit legitimate criticism of public officials are contrary to the right to freedom of expression and must be repealed. The authorities must stop harassing human rights defenders through the courts.”

There are numerous reports of abusive behavior by cops against refugees and migrants and those who defend their rights in Calais.



Photo: “Paris 2017” by Ithmus is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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