Ariane Lavrilleux revealed in an investigation that a French intelligence mission, for the benefit of Egypt in the name of the fight against terrorism, had been diverted by the Egyptian state to carry out air strikes.
The journalist Ariane Lavrilleux, co-author of an article which revealed at the end of 2021 a possible Egyptian diversion of a French intelligence operation in the country, was targeted by a search and placed in police custody on Tuesday September 19, announced the media Disclose which published its article at the time . The journalist announced her release on Wednesday evening. “I am free, thank you very much for your support” wrote the journalist on X (formerly Twitter) and in three languages on Wednesday evening, a message accompanied by a photo of a raised fist in front of an Egyptian flag.
His lawyer, Virginie Marquet, confirmed his release around 9 p.m. “It’s okay, she’s very combative”welcomed Magali Serre, president of Disclose, a media outlet which published her article at the end of 2021. A former soldier, also detained since Tuesday, will be presented to a magistrate with a view to possible prosecution.
According to Disclose, the journalist is being prosecuted for acts of “compromise of national defense secrecy” and of “revelation of information that could lead to the identification of a protected agent”. The search ended at 4:30 p.m. and Ariane Lavrilleux’s custody continued overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday at the Marseille police headquarters, according to a new message from Disclose. Contacted by franceinfo, the Paris prosecutor’s office has not yet been able to confirm the information. Government spokesperson Olivier Véran also refused to answer a question regarding this affair. “The nature of your question is not appropriate to the context” of the report of the Council of Ministers, estimated the spokesperson.
“Breach of confidentiality of journalists’ sources”
“I am appalled and worried by the escalation in attacks on freedom of information and the coercive measures taken”reacted Virginie Marquet, lawyer for Ariane Lavrilleux and the investigative media, before the lifting of police custody. “This search risks seriously undermining the confidentiality of journalists’ sources, which I can legitimately fear has been completely violated since this morning. Disclose will protect its journalist who has only revealed information of public interest”she added.
Many media outlets and journalists, notably several Societies of Journalists (SDJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF), expressed their indignation, citing a “unacceptable obstacle to freedom of information” and a “denial of democracy”. The program “Complement d’investigation” also supported to the journalist and made available to the public investigation which revealed how France allegedly provided Egypt with information used to commit crimes. “It is an attack on the secrecy of sources and the freedom to inform”estimates the show.
Disclose had claimed in an article published in November 2021 that the French intelligence mission “Sirli”, started in February 2016 for the benefit of Egypt in the name of the fight against terrorism, had been hijacked by the Egyptian state which used the information collected to carry out airstrikes on suspected smugglers’ vehicles on the Egyptian-Libyan border. According to documents obtained by Disclose, “French forces were allegedly involved in at least 19 bombings against civilians between 2016 and 2018” in this area.