Council funding of Strasbourg mosque provokes row with French interior minister

By Guillaume Krempp and Jean-François Gérard (Rue 89 Strasbourg)
Work began on the Eyüp Sultan mosque in Strasbourg in 2015 and is still continuing. © Guillaume Krempp/Rue89 Strasbourg Work began on the Eyüp Sultan mosque in Strasbourg in 2015 and is still continuing. © Guillaume Krempp/Rue89 Strasbourg

Councillors in Strasbourg have just voted through a 2.5 million euro grant to help build a new mosque in the city in north-east France, a region where unlike the rest of the country the law permits local authorities to fund religious buildings. However, the move by the Green-run council immediately attracted the ire of France's interior minister Gérald Darmanin because the group behind the mosque, Confédération Islamique Milli Görüs (CIMG), is a Franco-Turkish association which has refused to sign the government's new “charter of principles” for Islam in France. The minister, who is championing the government's new law against 'separatism', is now threatening legal action. Report by Guillaume Krempp and Jean-François Gérard of Mediapart's partners in the city, Rue 89 Strasbourg.

Revealed: the neo-Nazis within the ranks of France’s armed forces

By Sébastien Bourdon, Justine Brabant and Matthieu Suc
Screenshots of photos posted by soldiers on social media showing Nazi salutes. © Mediapart Screenshots of photos posted by soldiers on social media showing Nazi salutes. © Mediapart

An investigation by Mediapart revealing the existence of neo-Nazi sympathisers among French military personnel has prompted the armed forces minister and France’s chief of defence staff to promise a crackdown on extremists within the ranks. The investigation, detailed here, identified 50 members of the French armed forces, many of who brazenly posted photos and videos on social media illustrating their admiration of Nazi ideology. Sébastien Bourdon, Justine Brabant and Matthieu Suc report.

How ‘Islamophobia’ row erupted at French political sciences school

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Students gather in a protest in front of the entrance to the Grenoble Sciences Po school on March 9th. © PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP Students gather in a protest in front of the entrance to the Grenoble Sciences Po school on March 9th. © PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP

A national controversy blew up in France earlier this month over a ‘naming and shaming’ campaign by students at a political sciences school who accused two of their teachers of Islamophobia, prompting police protection for the pair. While there has been widespread political and media condemnation of the students’ campaign, this investigation by Mediapart found that the case is far more complex than so far presented, and that the controversy was fanned by the timidity of the school's management to intervene in a simmering dispute within its walls. David Perrotin reports.

Divorce: French woman ‘at fault’ for ending sexual relations with husband

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Inside the European Court of Human Rights. © FREDERICK FLORIN / AFP Inside the European Court of Human Rights. © FREDERICK FLORIN / AFP

A 66-year-old woman has lost all her appeals in France against a divorce case ruling that she was at fault in the collapse of her marriage after refusing to continue to have sexual relations with her husband. This month she submitted an ultimate appeal before the European Court of Human Rights in what may prove a watershed case on the notion of “conjugal duty”. Marine Turchi reports.

What teeth say about social inequalities

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In a book published this month in France, journalist Olivier Cyran investigates the country’s dental care system and the social inequalities of access to treatment, which can cause lifelong suffering and stigma for those excluded. Faïza Zerouala reports.

'Dr Peyo', the remarkable horse bringing peace to French cancer patients

French nuclear tests in the Pacific: the hidden fallout that hit Tahiti

By Disclose
A French atmospheric nuclear bomb test above the Murorura atoll in 1971. © AFP A French atmospheric nuclear bomb test above the Murorura atoll in 1971. © AFP

Beginning in 1966, France carried out close to 200 nuclear tests at its South Pacific territory of French Polynesia, 15,000 kilometres from Paris. The most contaminating were the nuclear bombs exploded in the atmosphere. This report from a series of investigations by Mediapart's editorial partner Disclose presents the extent of the radioactive fallout from one of those bombs in the Polynesian island of Tahiti, a hidden nuclear disaster that is estimated to have exposed 110,000 inhabitants to alarming levels of radioactivity.

Why the Paris Commune still continues to spark debate, 150 years after the uprising

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A photomontage of the execution of Dominican priests from Arcueil at route d'Italie in Paris, May 25th 1871. © Eugène Appert A photomontage of the execution of Dominican priests from Arcueil at route d'Italie in Paris, May 25th 1871. © Eugène Appert

The Paris Commune, an uprising in which ordinary citizens seized control of the French capital, began on March 18th 1871 and lasted for two months before coming to a bloody end. Now, 150 years after those dramatic events, an exhaustive book on the Commune has been been published. As Joseph Confavreux reports the book, edited by historian Michel Cordillot, retraces the uprising in minute detail and explains why this traumatic event still provokes debate in France to this day.

How the Balladur verdict highlights fatal flaws of CJR - France's ministerial court

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Former PM Édouard  Balladur arriving at the CJR on January 19th 2021. © Alain JOCARD / AFP Former PM Édouard Balladur arriving at the CJR on January 19th 2021. © Alain JOCARD / AFP

On Thursday March 4th 2021 the Cour de Justice de la République (CJR) – which tries cases of alleged ministerial misconduct – cleared former French prime minister Édouard Balladur of any wrongdoing in the long-running Karachi affair. At the same time it found Balladur's former defence minister François Léotard guilty of complicity in the misuse of assets and handed him a two-year suspended prison sentence. The verdicts were much more lenient than those for ministerial aides in the earlier criminal trial involving the same affair. Karl Laske wonders how long the hybrid CJR court, most of whose 'judges' are politicians, can survive.

Judge rejects plea bargain deal for French billionaire Vincent Bolloré in corruption case

By and
Businessman Vincent Bolloré. © Eric Piermont / AFP Businessman Vincent Bolloré. © Eric Piermont / AFP

The businessman had negotiated a deal with the French financial prosecution unit, the Parquet National Financier, under the terms of which he would have only received a fine of 375,000 euros over a corruption case in West Africa. But on Friday February 26th a court in Paris rejected the plea bargain agreement, ruling that it was too favourable to Vincent Bolloré, whose group has a string of economic interests in African countries. Fabrice Arfi and Yann Philippin report

Sarkozy conviction reveals the forest of corruption in France

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Nicolas Sarkozy arriving at the court in Paris on Monday 1st March 2021. © Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP Nicolas Sarkozy arriving at the court in Paris on Monday 1st March 2021. © Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

The significance of the conviction of former president Nicolas Sarkozy in the 'Paul Bismuth' phone tap affair goes wider than one case, says Mediapart's Fabrice Arfi. It highlights the extent to which France is a country is riddled with corruption.

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy found guilty of corruption in phone tap affair

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Nicolas Sarkozy arriving at the court in Paris on Monday 1st March 2021. Nicolas Sarkozy arriving at the court in Paris on Monday 1st March 2021.

The former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was found guilty by a Paris court on Monday March 1st 2021 of corruption and influence peddling in the case known as the 'Paul Bismuth affair'. The ex-head of state was handed a three-year prison sentence with two of them suspended, though it appears unlikely he will serve time in jail and his lawyer said he will appeal against the conviction. It is the first time in French legal history that a former president of the Republic has been convicted of such serious crimes. The case stemmed from judicially-approved telephone taps of conversations between Nicolas Sarkozy and his friend and lawyer Thierry Herzog, who has also been convicted in the case. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan reports, with additional reporting by Ilyes Ramdani.

The 'final straw': why French singer Médine is suing an MP over 'Islamist rapper' claim

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Médine released his first album '11 septembre, récit du 11e jour' ('September 11, account of the 11th day') in 2004. © Fifou Médine released his first album '11 septembre, récit du 11e jour' ('September 11, account of the 11th day') in 2004. © Fifou

In an interview with Mediapart, the French rapper Médine explained why he is suing Member of Parliament Aurore Bergé of the ruling La République en Marche party for defamation after she described him as an “Islamist rapper” and accused him of “incitement to murder”. He told Mediapart: “She's ascribing an ideology to me which obviously isn't mine. It's the final straw. I'm hoping for a conviction and a public apology.” Ismaël Bine reports.

Paris mayor puts President Macron on spot over refusal to order new lockdown

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President Emmanuel Macron and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo on July 24th 2020. © Franck Fife/AFP President Emmanuel Macron and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo on July 24th 2020. © Franck Fife/AFP

The city authorities in Paris, led by mayor Anne Hidalgo, have suggested that the French capital and surrounding region be put under a new lockdown to tackle the worsening Covid-19 virus situation there. This has piled pressure on President Emmanuel Macron who has been described by some as the country's “epidemiologist-in-chief” and who has so far resisted growing calls for a lockdown not just in the capital but across France. As Ellen Salvi reports, the Paris authorities are effectively asking a question that the head of state's supporters are refusing to countenance: what if the French president has got it wrong?

When French PM’s communications chief served Saudi interests

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Mayada Boulos, communications advisor to the French prime minister, seen here at the Élysée Palace on June 29th 2020. © Ludovic MARIN / AFP Mayada Boulos, communications advisor to the French prime minister, seen here at the Élysée Palace on June 29th 2020. © Ludovic MARIN / AFP

Mayada Boulos, communications advisor to French Prime Minister Jean Castex, was in charge of a PR campaign to promote Saudi Arabian interests during her previous job with advertising and public relations group Havas. The campaign was on behalf of a foundation created and chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of the kingdom who a US intelligence report released last week said had approved the 2018 murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Antton Rouget reports.