On Tuesday, the home of journalist Ariane Lavrillo was searched and she was detained for questioning by agents of the General Directorate of Investigations. FranceDisclosure’s domestic intelligence agency announced on X (formerly Twitter).
She denounced the “unacceptable attack on the confidentiality of sources” – a view that was quickly endorsed by the Journalists’ Association and Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Without Borders).
“We fear that the actions of the General Directorate of Public Security will undermine the confidentiality of the sources,” Reporters Without Borders said.
A source close to the case confirmed to AFP the arrest of Lavrillo.
The investigative website Disclose published a series of articles in November 2021 based on hundreds of classified documents.
She said they showed how information came from a French intelligence operation Egyptcodenamed “Sirli,” was used by the Egyptian state in a “campaign of arbitrary killing” against smugglers operating along the Libyan border.
Discover’s initial articles stated that French forces were complicit in at least 19 bombings against smugglers between 2016 and 2018 in the region.
Disclose said that the documents showed that there were warnings from officials within the French government, but the operation was not in doubt.
“I am appalled and concerned by the escalation of attacks on media freedom and the coercive measures taken against journalist Disclose,” said Virginie Marquet, lawyer for Lavrillo & Disclose.
“This research seriously threatens to undermine the confidentiality of journalists’ sources,” she added, adding that Lavrillo “only disclosed information in the public interest.”
The French Ministry of the Armed Forces filed a complaint for “violation of national defense secrets” after the article was published, and the Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office opened a case in July 2022, which was then placed in the hands of the General Directorate of Public Security.
(France 24 with AFP)
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