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France4 December 2002

German TV journalists sue French mayor who attacked them

Reporters Without Borders today expressed its support for two German television journalists who are suing the mayor of Gélaucourt in Meurthe-et-Moselle (northeastern France) for assault in connection with an incident on 19 June. The case is to be heard on 6 December by the magistrate’s court in Nancy.

The organisation believes that the display of violence by Gélaucourt’s mayor Michel Capdevielle was unacceptable, especially as it came from an elected official and its targets were two journalists who were just doing their job.

The journalists, Abdul Traoré and cameraman Hartmut Müller, went to Gélaucourt on behalf of the Saarlandischer Rundfunk (Saarland Broadcasting Company) to report on the differences between the mayor and certain members of his electorate who accuse him of abuse of authority. The mayor seized Müller’s camera, hit him with it in the face, threw it to the ground, and uttered racists insults against Traoré.

In their lawsuit, the journalists accuse the mayor of violence by a public official, damage to the property of another person, and public insult of an individual based on race, religion or origin.

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