Gérald Darmanin at the National Assembly, November 17, 2020 (illustration) -
Jacques Witt / SIPA
While the "comprehensive security" bill is under parliamentary scrutiny, the Home Secretary has defended one of its most maligned provisions in recent days, citing a recent tragedy.
For Gérald Darmanin, preventing the malicious dissemination of images allowing members of the police to be identified would be justified in particular by the Magnanville (Yvelines) attack carried out in 2016.
However, if the murder of two police officers at their home by a terrorist, that summer, marked the spirits, the investigation did not establish any link, at this stage, with the dissemination of their image on social networks. ... as Gérald Darmanin himself recognized at the beginning of November.
“My job is to protect the police and gendarmes.
It is in these terms that Gérald Darmanin claimed his role as Minister of the Interior, Friday, November 13, during his visit to Franceinfo.
He also defended the bill decried on "global security" - examined this week at first reading in the National Assembly - whose article 24 provides for a sentence of one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros in case of dissemination on social networks of images making it possible to identify police officers or gendarmes in operation as soon as it "infringes [their] physical or mental integrity".
A measure that raises serious concerns about press freedom and fundamental freedoms - including within the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Distribution of images of the police: "If you see a problem, you will have the right to film it and send it to the public prosecutor. If you want to broadcast it on the internet in a wild way, you will have to blur faces ", says Gérald Darmanin pic.twitter.com/5lPasLX4uB
- franceinfo (@franceinfo) November 13, 2020
And if Gérald Darmanin cited, on this occasion, various examples of threats received in a personal capacity by the police on social networks, he also mentioned the assassinations of Jean-Baptiste Salvaing and his companion Jessica Schneider in June 2016 in Magnanville (Yvelines) by Larossi Abballa, a terrorist claiming to be Islamic State.
"I would remind you that the attacks were also those in Magnanville where a police officer and his companion who was a police officer were slaughtered in their home, in front of their child of a few years, by someone who had their personal address and who committed an attack ", declared Gérald Darmanin as an example justifying the protective interest, for the police, of the law on" global security "- he who had gone to the police station des Mureaux (Yvelines), with the couple's former colleagues, for his first official trip as Minister of the Interior.
The Magnanville attack was also quoted more recently, on BFMTV's antenna, by Valérie Pécresse, in response to a question on this bill (from 13'20 below): “Me, I don't do not forget that the terrorists came to Magnanville to kill a couple of police officers in front of their child.
So identifying the police, throwing them to the public opinion, that's not good.
However, if the Magnanville attack undeniably marked public opinion - and in particular the police institution - by its particularly despicable process, the investigation opened after the tragedy did not establish any link with the dissemination of images or personal information of the couple on social media.
Gérald Darmanin is telling the truth by indicating that Jean-Baptiste Salvaing and Jessica Schneider were murdered by a terrorist with their personal address.
But the investigation is rather oriented on the trail of a leak of this crucial information within the police.
Two years after the tragedy, a policewoman was indeed placed in police custody alongside her daughter and son, considered radicalized, as well as three other people, while she had accommodated at her home for several weeks a friend on file S of her daughter, who was in contact with Larossi Abballa, as reported by
"Was it on the occasion of this cohabitation that the information on the place of residence of the Salvaing-Schneider couple was spread?
This is what the judicial police seeks to determine.
The hypothesis at this stage remains tenuous.
No suspicious file consultation would have been revealed.
"Our colleague appears above all as a mother overwhelmed by the journey of her children", summarizes one of her acquaintances ", noted the daily at the time.
If a new suspect was taken into custody in December 2019, three years after the tragedy, investigators were still trying to understand how the terrorist had chosen his victims and located their address.
"We do not know if it is the images of social networks that gave rise to this attack"
The role of social networks is therefore not at all proven in this drama, as Gérald Darmanin himself acknowledged on November 2, during his hearing before the Law Commission on the subject of "the fight against terrorism and radical Islamism ”:“ I thank the parliamentarians for implementing the promise I made to the security forces not to be thrown into the pasture on social networks.
Remember the Magnanville tragedy: we do not know if it was the images of social networks that gave rise to this attack, I finally ... A murdered police officer, a murdered policewoman, in civilian clothes, at home, outside of their place of work, […] it is really throwing in the pasture of officials who do extremely difficult work.
The Minister of the Interior is not the first to have established this link between this provision of the bill on "global security" and the Magnanville attack: a regional secretary of the Alliance police union had already done so in last May with France 3 Bourgogne, by pleading for the blurring of the images of police officers.
, the Ministry of the Interior indicates for its part that "the Magnanville attack is a trauma for the national police and is unfortunately a symbol of the violence of which the police are the target".
Law on "Comprehensive Security": The police want to regain control in the "war of images"
Report information that you think is false to the "Fake Off" team of "20 Minutes"