Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has attacked the phone-tapping conducted by magistrates investigating him, breaking his silence on the subject to liken the actions to those of the "Stasi" police of former Communist East Germany, reports Reuters.
In a letter to be published in Le Figaro newspaper on Friday, the 59-year- old, widely expected to stand for election again in 2017, said the phone-tapping had broken "fundamental principles", the judiciary had been "instrumentalised" and "the sacred principles of our Republic have been trampled underfoot".
The letter was billed by the newspaper as Sarkozy's first political intervention since he lost the 2012 election to Socialist Francois Hollande.
It came after his lawyer said earlier on Thursday he would make a legal complaint against the phone-tappings, which were conducted in connection with investigations into the funding of Sarkozy's successful 2007 election campaign.
Le Monde newspaper broke the news of their existence earlier this month.
"Today still, anyone who telephones me must know they are being listened to," he wrote. "This is not an extract from that marvelous (2006) film 'The Life of Others' on East Germany and the activities of the Stasi ... This is about France."
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said in a statement that Sarkozy had made a "grave moral error" by attacking the judiciary and the police.