RSF protests police brutality against German journalists
(RSF/IFEX) - RSF has protested to French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy after two German freelance journalists covering an anti-racism demonstration in Strasbourg were the victims of police brutality.
Carsten Bügener was reportedly kicked and tear-gassed while Kathrin Plümer had her film forcibly confiscated during the 24 July 2002 demonstration. Police have yet to return the film.
"We demand the immediate opening of an inquiry and exemplary punishment of those responsible for this unacceptable violence," RSF Secretary-General Robert Ménard said in a 2 August letter to Sarkozy.
"The facts in the incident are troubling. Without even asking the journalists to stop filming, and while they were showing them their press cards, police officers reportedly seized the camera, repeatedly kicked one of the journalists and ripped the film out of the camera. Strasbourg police since claim to have lost the film," Ménard noted, adding, "Such practices, which are all too familiar under other regimes, are unworthy of the French police and should be severely punished."
RSF recalls that five journalists complained of questionable behaviour by French police towards the press in 2001.