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by Euro Reporter
2014-12-09 08:38:25
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EU court orders France to compensate Somali pirates

The European Court of Human Rights has ordered France to pay up to 7,000 euros in compensation to each of nine Somali pirates who were detained after hijacking two French yachts in the Gulf of Aden in 2008.

Some of the pirates seized the 290-foot luxury yacht Le Ponant in the Gulf of Aden, taking hostage 30 people, including 22 French nationals. Others were involved in hijacking the second vessel, a 50-foot sailboat. French commandos retook both vessels in separate raids, months apart, after ransoms amounting to about $2 million were paid in each incident.

The ECHR ruled Thursday that under the European Convention on Human Rights, the pirates — who were held for several days before being transferred to France — should have been brought before a French judge "without delay." The convention's Article 5.3 "was not designed to give the authorities the opportunity to intensify their investigations for the purpose of bringing formal charges against the suspects," a court statement said.

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Paris suburb reels after 'anti-Semitic' robbery, rape

The Parisian suburb of Créteil made national headlines this week following a brutal anti-Semitic robbery and rape. Residents spoke to FRANCE 24 of their alarm that such an attack could happen in their usually quiet multicultural community. The large Jewish community that calls Créteil home was in a state of shock days after a horrific anti-Semitic attack on a young couple in broad daylight Monday. Three armed assailants broke into their apartment around noon and tied up the couple before proceeding to steal bank cards and jewellery. They then raped the 19-year-old woman, who has not been named in the French press. French authorities and the family’s lawyer have called it an anti-Semitic attack, with the assailants declaring, “you Jews, you have money,” as they forced their way into the couple’s home.

The incident occurred in a peaceful neighbourhood known as the Quartier du Port, right next to a picturesque lake and park. An otherwise non-descript urban area with medium-sized apartment buildings surrounded by shrubs and an occasional playground, the Quartier du Port is home to a sizeable Jewish community. Synagogues, kosher butchers, bakeries and supermarkets dot this vibrant, multi-ethnic, middle-class neighbourhood. Days after the attack, residents were still trying to make sense of the horrific break-in amid lingering questions over whether the attack constituted a hate crime. At a neighbourhood cafe on Avenue du Général Pierre Billotte, 73-year-old René Meghnagi drains his cup of coffee and greets one of his Muslim neighbours with the traditional Salam Alaikum as he steps out on the sidewalk. “I have found peace in Créteil,” he announces as he surveys the busy thoroughfare.

Meghnagi, a Jewish man who grew up in Tunisia, lives on the same street as the couple that were attacked. He tries to play down the incident. “Those who did this, they’re scum, thugs, but every town has their own,” he states. Nevertheless, he recognises that there is reason for concern among his fellow Jews: “Among non-Jews, there is this idea that we have lots of money. But there are few rich people here, it’s mostly middle class.” Esther, 36, works at a nearby kosher supermarket. Unlike Meghnagi, she says the incident has affected her view of the neighbourhood. “Créteil is not what it used to be,” she says. “I don’t feel safe here, especially early in the morning when we open for business, or when it gets dark.” She says she has asked her husband to stop wearing his kippah (or yarmulke, a traditional Jewish skullcap) out in public and no longer sends her son out to buy bread at the corner. When asked if she is considering moving, her response is swift: “And go where?” she asks tensely. “The government needs to do more to protect us here.”

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France outraged over ‘Nazi-era’ badges for Marseille’s homeless

A French city has been made to scrap plans to force homeless people to wear yellow triangle ID tags after they were compared to Nazi-era Star of David badges. Authorities in Marseille wanted beggars to wear the badges, which would have carried information such as their personal details and any health issues, so they could be easily identifiable. But the proposals provoked outrage across France from human rights groups and even government ministers with some comparing the badges to the Star of David Jews were forced to sew on to their clothes during the Nazi era.

The six-pointed yellow star was forced upon the Jews by Nazis in the Reich to wear to mark them out. French group La Ligue des droits de l'Homme said they were troubled by the badge and its resemblance to the yellow star that had to be worn by Jews. While social affairs minister Marisol Touraine told Le Parisien newspaper: 'Forcing homeless people to carry a yellow triangle indicating the illnesses they might have is outrageous. You don't point the finger at the poorest. 'You don't write their illnesses on their clothes. Medical confidentiality, in particular, is a fundamental right. I want this local initiative to be stopped.' Demonstrators also gathered outside the City Hall of Marseille to protest against the badges which they said were discriminatory.

They held up signs and placards with one reading '1933-1945 Never Again', with the yellow triangle and Star of David emblem next to it. Council officials had tried to defend the plan saying they were only to help emergency services if they have to come to the aid of a homeless person. Over 100 of the cards had also been distributed around the city. But today, council of France's second largest city, bowed down to pressure and announced that they would be scrapping the plan.

 


    
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