Journalists Victims of Police Violence During Demonstrations

Update: 09 Feb 2018 State replied
Year 03 Jun 2016 Country France Category Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , Index Alert level Level 1
03 Jun 2016 France Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , Index Level 1

An upsurge in police violence against journalists has been observed since mid-May during demonstrations against the new labour laws. On 17 May, Joël Labat, cameraman, was the target of a teargas grenade shot at close range. On 26 May, an independent photographer was seriously wounded at the end of a demonstration in the vicinity of the Court of Vincennes, hit in the head by a sting grenade. On 31 May, in Rennes, a photographer was forced under threat to wipe his equipment clean of images. On 2 June in Rennes, the forces of order were violent with four journalists and damaged their equipment: Vincent Feuray, an independent photographer, Jérémie Verchère, photographic journalist and Bruno Van Wassenhove, a cameraman for the television channel, France 3, were beaten with truncheons. A reporter from the private television channel M6, was also thrown to the ground. These journalists could all be clearly identified (Press cards, helmets and branded cameras). They claim to have been deliberately attacked by the police.

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15 Jun 2016 : Recent police violence against journalists during demonstrations in France disturbing, says OSCE Representative

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20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Mehmet Altan’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Altan’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Altan’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Şahin Alpay’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Alpay’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 46 (binding force and execution of judgments) of the Convention, the Court held that it was incumbent on the respondent State to ensure the termination of Mr Alpay’s pre-tria detention at the earliest possible date. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Alpay’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.
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