Jail term for man who slapped Emmanuel Macron in the face

Damien Tarel gets four months in prison for hitting president.

Jail term for man who slapped Emmanuel Macron in the face

The man who slapped French President Emmanuel Macron in the face on Monday has been jailed.

Damien Tarel, 28, appeared in court in Valence charged with violence against a person invested with public authority. He was jailed for four months and given an additional 14-month suspended sentence. He was also banned from ever holding public office and from owning weapons for five years.

According to AFP, Tarel identified himself in court as a right-wing “patriot” and a member of the Yellow Jackets protest movement and appeared in court wearing the same green T-shirt he wore on the day of his arrest.

Asked why he had attacked the president when Macron was on a visit to the southeastern town of Tain-l’Hermitage, Tarel said he had thought about throwing an egg or cream tart, but insisted he had not considered slapping Macron and acted on impulse.

“When I saw his friendly, lying look, which sought me out as a voter, I was filled with disgust,” he was reported as saying to the court.

Source : Politico EU More   

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Lisbon admits sharing Russian dissidents’ personal data with Moscow

Portuguese MEPs have called for an urgent debate on the matter in the European Parliament.

Lisbon admits sharing Russian dissidents’ personal data with Moscow

Lisbon Mayor Fernando Medina is facing calls for his resignation as a result of his government’s decision to share the personal information of at least three Lisbon-based Russian dissidents with Russian authorities.

Municipal authorities obtained the personal data when the dissidents applied to hold a rally to protest the arrest of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in January. City ordinances require protest organizers to submit their names, identification numbers, home addresses and telephone numbers so that Portugal’s Public Security Police (PSP) can contact them if anything goes wrong during the event.

Protest organizer Ksenia Ashrafullina, a 36-year-old Russian-Portuguese dual citizen, told POLITICO that when she reviewed her email exchanges with city hall she found evidence that municipal employees had forwarded the data to both the Russian embassy in Lisbon and Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow.

“We gave city hall all of our information because the protest was being held in the midst of the COVID crisis, and we wanted to be sure that we were complying with all of the sanitary rules that were in place,” Ashrafullina said. “They accidentally forwarded me the email they had sent to the Russian authorities, which included a PDF file with our data transcribed.”

She said that her demands for an explanation were initially ignored by Lisbon’s authorities, and that city hall only replied when she lodged a formal complaint. Although municipal employees admitted that they had forwarded the sensitive information, Ashrafullina said that they attempted to blame her for disclosing the data in the first place.

“That made no sense, of course: I had to submit my personal information in order to be granted permission to hold the public protest,” she said.

Municipal authorities later sent Ashrafullina a copy of a message in which Lisbon’s city hall requested that the Russian embassy and foreign ministry delete the sensitive information.

The dissident, who has lived in Portugal for eight years, said that the disclosure had left her exposed to retribution from Moscow, where on Wednesday a Russian court banned Navalny’s opposition movement and declared his supporters to be “extremists.”

“When you’re dealing with Russia, you’re dealing with a terrorist state that intimidates the population by picking out people and targeting them,” she said. “I thought that if I couldn’t change things in Russia, I’d at least be safe in Portugal, but instead city hall has just given me away to them.”

“Is it corruption, is it espionage, or is this just stupidity?” Ashrafullina asked. “If it’s incompetence, it’s especially cruel incompetence.”

Firestorm ahead of the municipal elections

News of the breach, first reported by Portuguese weekly Expresso on Wednesday night, unleashed a torrent of criticism against Lisbon Mayor Medina, who is up for reelection in October and who is widely considered to be a potential successor to Prime Minister António Costa, his predecessor in the mayoralty.

City hall first sought to address the issue on Thursday morning with a terse statement in which it acknowledged that Ashrafullina and other dissidents’ personal information had been shared with Russian authorities, but “vehemently rejected any accusations and insinuations of complicity with the Russian regime.”

Authorities defended their decision to share the data, arguing that it was compliant with existing municipal protocol and Portuguese law, but accepted that existing procedures “had not proved adequate in this context,” and said that a review of the actions taken were now underway.

Later Thursday, Medina told reporters that he was sorry for the “bureaucratic error” and expressed solidarity with the dissidents’ stance against Russia’s repressive practices.

The apology did little to temper criticism from Carlos Moedas, a former European commissioner for research, science and innovation who is running as a conservative candidate in the mayoral elections. Moedas said that the situation required Medina’s resignation.

“This situation is unacceptable,” Moedas said in a telephone interview, stressing that the matter was “especially grave” because two of the dissidents held Portuguese nationality, which meant the municipal authorities had furnished information about citizens to a foreign power.

“City hall put these people in mortal danger, and it has admitted that it has done this before, sharing the personal data of protesters with other repressive regimes,” he said. “There have to be political consequences: Medina has to resign.”

In Brussels, six Portuguese European People’s Party MEPs sent a written question to European Council President Charles Michel and foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in which they asked if Lisbon’s municipal government had acted “in line with European values ​​and diplomatic practices towards Russia,” and if the delivery of the personal data jeopardized “the security of these citizens and their respective families.”

Dutch MEP Jeroen Lenaers, the EPP coordinator in the Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, also requested an urgent debate on what he deemed a “clear violation of the European data protection law.”

Ashrafullina said she was pleased by the political reaction in Lisbon and Brussels, but surprised that it was coming in June instead of in January.

“I told Portuguese journalists about this in January but nobody wanted to report on it,” she said.

“I get that with the elections coming up, we’re part of a bigger political game now. .. If that helps to make Portugal a more democratic country, I guess that’s fine.”

Lili Bayer and Paul Ames contributed reporting.

Source : Politico EU More   

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