French Journalist Detained over Report On Civilian Atrocities in Egypt

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In a recent turn of events, French journalist Ariane Lavrilleux found herself held overnight and subsequently questioned by the local police. This controversial detainment pertained to her 2021 report alleging that Egypt leveraged French intelligence resources in committing civilian atrocities.

On the 19th day of September, around Lavrilleux’s premises, law enforcement carried out a comprehensive search operation, she was consequently taken into police custody. This detention, her legal representative specified, was part of a larger investigation seemingly related to a purported breach of national security. Following an overnight arrest, Lavrilleux was thereafter released.

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Amnesty International’s Katia Roux expressed considerable concern for the embattled journalist during her arrest. She cautioned the potentially grim implications for press freedom and source confidentiality if journalists continually face detainment for pursuing their professional duties or spotlighting information of public salience.

It is reported that Lavrilleux’s interrogators were officers from the French General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI). The offending 2021 report, which thrust her in this precarious situation, built a damning narrative using confidential documents. These purportedly unveiled an unsavoury partnership where the Egyptian authorities exercised French intelligence resources to conduct airborne assaults on smugglers operating on the Egypt-Libya border between 2016 and 2018. The report implicated French forces in “at least 19 bombings” against civilian targets.

Disclose, a pre-eminent French investigative journalism platform, publicized the report, alleging that successive French administrations under Presidents François Hollande and Emmanuel Macron were consistently briefed about these developments by representatives from “several military departments”. Despite these warnings, their concerns seemingly fell on deaf ears.

Disclose maintained a defiant stance amidst potential legal repercussions. They underscored the public’s right to information as a cornerstone of democratic governance. They dismissed the excuse of preserving ‘classified information’ as grounds to cover arbitrary executions against civilian populations.

This controversial publication drew swift reprimands from the French armed forces ministry, triggering a legal complaint citing a “violation of national defence secrets”. This arrest garnered strong condemnation from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). They demanded an end to all investigations against Lavrilleux while urging law enforcement to cease interfering with her journalistic sources.

Attila Mong, CPJ’s Europe representative, warned against the unintended consequences, pointing out the chilling effect such inquiries into confidential sources could have on national defence reporting. He emphasized the importance of journalists’ unhindered ability to cover issues of national security and defence.