Outrage Spreads After French TV Broadcasts Tape Of Toulouse Killer



PARIS – Outrage spread Monday after French TV station TF1 aired for the first time extracts of audio tapes between Toulouse gunman Mohamed Merah and the police during the 32-hour siege on his apartment.

In the recordings, Mohamed Merah can be heard saying to the police negotiators: "Know that you are up against a man who is not afraid to die," adding that he was determined to continue his killing spree and claiming he had links to al-Qaeda and organized crime groups.

Merah, a French citizen of Algerian descent, shot dead three soldiers, and three children and a teacher at a Jewish school, in a wave of killings that shocked the country. The 32-hour standoff on his Toulouse apartment ended with Merah shot in the head by the French police.

The broadcast of the recordings on Sunday has sparked outrage in France, starting with Interior Minister Manuel Valls who condemned the decision to run the conversation while court proceedings were still ongoing. Valls told AFP that internal affairs would be launching an investigation into the leak of the tapes.

The families of Merah's victims also blamed TF1 for its lack of respect for them and their grief.

Fabrice Lorvo, a lawyer specialized in media and communication issues, was quoted Monday by French daily newspaper Le Figaro: "We've entered an accelerating spiral. The case of Canadian killer Luka Rocco Magnotta was symbolic of the excesses the media should try to avoid, given it no longer has anything to do with the right to information."

Emmanuel Chain, the producer of TF1's "Sept a Huit", the program that broadcast the extracts of the tapes, justified his decision on French radio station RTL: "We acted responsibly," he said. "We weighed the matter very carefully before deciding to run the document because of its high news value."

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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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