Investigations

  • Paris train and bus operator RATP accused over handling of sexual violence cases

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    Some of the staff or former staff at RATP have spoken on Mediapart's 'À l’air libre' programme. © Mediapart Some of the staff or former staff at RATP have spoken on Mediapart's 'À l’air libre' programme. © Mediapart

    The huge public transport operator for the Paris region, Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens, better known by its initials RATP, faces claims over the way it handles allegations of sexual and sexist violence against its female staff. Pregnant employees say they have been badly treated, some women say that perpetrators of sexual violence against them have gone unpunished, while others say that the transport operator's internal procedures dealing with such allegations are not sufficiently clear. Célia Mebroukine investigates the allegations involving the world’s fourth largest public transport operator.

  • The rise of a new terrorist threat in France: the ultra-right

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    A screengrab showing the ultra-right group Les Barjols. © Document Mediapart A screengrab showing the ultra-right group Les Barjols. © Document Mediapart

    A report by prosecutors in Paris warns about the return of a terrorist threat from the ultra-right, Mediapart can reveal. Based on an analysis of seven separate investigations into allegations of terrorist conspiracies, the report details the groups' professionalism, their ability to arm themselves and the varied profiles of the activists, some of whom are highly-integrated members of society. Matthieu Suc and Marine Turchi report.

     

  • Mahamat Mahdi Ali: the Chad rebel leader targeted by France

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    Mahdi Ali Mahamat in 2017. © Capture d’écran/Facebook Mahdi Ali Mahamat in 2017. © Capture d’écran/Facebook

    The veteran Chad leader Idriss Déby Itno, a close ally of France for many years, died in April, reportedly after being wounded on the battlefield fighting against an armed rebel group in the country. That group is the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), led by a man called Mahamat Mahdi Ali. The rebel leader has close links with France; he spent part of his life here and his family still lives in Reims, north east of Paris. He was also a member of the Socialist Party before he says he was “betrayed” by his former comrades when they were in government; he was subject to financial sanctions from the authorities in Paris over what he says are unfounded claims of links to terrorist groups. Some observers see the targeting of Mahamat Mahdi Ali as a favour by the authorities in Paris to the Déby regime, which has been a stalwart supporter of France's anti-terrorism strategy in the region. Rémi Carayol reports.

  • French commentator Éric Zemmour accused of sexual violence against women

    Journalist and polemicist Éric Zemmour. © JOEL SAGET / AFP Journalist and polemicist Éric Zemmour. © JOEL SAGET / AFP

    On April 24th 2021 a female councillor publicly accused French journalist and polemicist Éric Zemmour of having forcibly kissed her. Mediapart has gathered the accounts of several other women who have also condemned the actions and behaviour of the journalist from Le Figaro newspaper and CNews news channel, whom some on the far-right want to be a candidate in next year's presidential election in France. When approached by Mediapart, Zemmour declined to respond to the allegations. Lénaïg Bredoux, David Perrotin and Marine Turchi report.

  • The grim reasons why French police officers have become prime targets for terrorists

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    Jihadist propaganda publications often target the French police. © DR Jihadist propaganda publications often target the French police. © DR

    The murder of a policewoman at Rambouillet, south west of Paris, on Friday April 23rd brought to 12 the number of members of the police and security forces who have been killed in terrorist attacks in France since 2015. Overall, attacks targeting police officers have grown in number over that period. This “French exception”  is a phenomenon which has become more prevalent since the collapse of Islamic State's self-styled 'Caliphate' in the Middle East. Matthieu Suc reports.

  • Probe launched into racist comments at France's school for judges

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    School for judges: the École nationale de la magistrature (ENM) at Bordeaux. © Valentino BELLONI / Hans Lucas via AFP School for judges: the École nationale de la magistrature (ENM) at Bordeaux. © Valentino BELLONI / Hans Lucas via AFP

    Documents seen by Mediapart reveal that some students at the school where France's future judges and prosecutors are trained used racist language on a private online document. The comments made by the students, who are poised to graduate from the École Nationale de la Magistrature and start their careers, include “France for the French” and “Arabs Out”. The college's authorities informed prosecutors in Bordeaux who have now opened a criminal investigation. David Perrotin reports.

  • Dodgy dossier: scandal of investigation into petrol bomb attack on French police

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    À Viry-Châtillon, le 8 octobre 2016. © Thomas Samson / AFP À Viry-Châtillon, le 8 octobre 2016. © Thomas Samson / AFP

    On April 18th 2021 five youths were found guilty on appeal of an attack in 2016 in which two police officers were set ablaze when their patrol car was pelted with petrol bombs in a Paris suburb. The five were given jail terms of between six and 18 years. Eight other youths were acquitted. The appeal verdicts, which were more lenient than the original trial in 2019, caused outrage among some politicians and led to a protest march by angry police officers. But Mediapart can reveal that the real scandal was the way in which police detectives ran the initial investigation into the brutal attack in Viry-Châtillon. Officers truncated or cut out entire sections of what suspects said in custody. They also put pressure on them to implicate other youths from the area. Lawyers for some of those involved have described it as a “legal scandal” and formal complaints have now been made to prosecutors about the conduct of the detectives. Pascale Pascariello reports.

  • French police reveal system used by luxury goods firm LVMH to spy on journalist

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    Bernard Squarcini, en 2012. © MARTIN BUREAU / AFP Bernard Squarcini, en 2012. © MARTIN BUREAU / AFP

    Two recent reports by French police have revealed in minute detail the spying system set up by the former head of France's domestic intelligence agency, Bernard Squarcini, on behalf of the giant luxury goods firm LVMH, which is owned by billionaire Bernard Arnault. Its target was journalist François Ruffin - who is now a Member of Parliament in France - and his publication Fakir. Fabrice Arfi reports.

  • Scandal of racist and sexist language used at organisation delivering Paris Olympics

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    Nicolas Ferrand, CEO of SOLIDEO, during a presentation of a model of the Olympic village in November 2019, watched by Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo. © Stéphane DE SAKUTIN / AFP Nicolas Ferrand, CEO of SOLIDEO, during a presentation of a model of the Olympic village in November 2019, watched by Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo. © Stéphane DE SAKUTIN / AFP

    An investigation by Mediapart has revealed a pattern of anti-Roma insults, sexist behaviour and prejudice towards residents of a high-immigration area among certain staff at an organisation helping to deliver the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. After Mediapart raised the issue with management three employees at SOLIDEO – the body overseeing construction of the Games infrastructure - have been suspended and an internal inquiry has been established. Previous attempts to raise the issue internally, including the referral of complaints to the office of Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo,  apparently had little effect. Jade Lindgaard and Antton Rouget report.

  • How Covid-19 caused 'historic' fall in life expectancy in France

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    The mortuary at the Bichat hospital in Paris, January 29th 2021. © Joel Saget/AFP The mortuary at the Bichat hospital in Paris, January 29th 2021. © Joel Saget/AFP

    While France last week passed the landmark official figure of 100,000 deaths from Covid-19, some have questioned the real significance of the disease on the deathrate of the elderly and the physically weak who, they bluntly argue, would have died sooner or later from other causes. Rozenn Le Saint turned to demographers for their insight into a clouded debate.