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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

France: ten people detained on suspicion of spying on ex-presidential candidate

October 14, 2008
Radio France International

Ten people were detained by Paris police on Tuesday on suspicion of spying on Olivier Besancenot, the spokesman for France's Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire (LCR) party. Besancenot is a former presidential candidate and while he took only four per cent of the vote in 2007, he is regularly identified as one of the most popular politicians on the left in France.

The ten brought into custody include policemen, detectives from a private detective agency and Antoine di Zazzo, the head of the company that sells Taser guns in France. They were detained as part of a probe into claims by Besancenot, following an investigation by Express magazine, that he has been spied on from October 2007 to January this year.

SMP technologies is taking Besancenot to court for having referred to the number of people who have died in the US from Taser pistols which fires 50,000 volts as a "non-lethal" deterrant. This trial is due to open next week on 20 October.

Beseancenot has said Di Zazzo is "seeking 50,000 euros from me just because I drew attention to an Amnesty International report", referring to an Amnesty document that says Taser weapons have caused hundreds of deaths and have called for a moratorium on their use.

Di Zazzo is suspected of having commissioned police, private detectives and bank employees to spy on the LCR spokesman. Last May the businessman denied the accusations saying, "We never asked to have Mr. Besancenot followed - Why would we? His private life is of interest to us."

The suspicions concern the consulting of the vehicle registation and bank account details of Besancenot as well as photographs of his partner and child outside their home.

Reports in France on Tuesday claimed a link had already been established between the detective agency, which is run by a former police officer, and Di Zazzo's SMP Technologies.

News of the detentions comes shortly after opposition in France to a new Intelligence-gathering bill, called Edvige. Besancenot said the allegation of the spying plot was "one more reason to oppose Edvige."

And just last week in France, this news: Two bailiffs presented Monday to the mayor of Lille a summons on behalf of Martine Aubry from the company SMP Technologies, the exclusive distributor in France of the TASER X 26. Asked last Sunday on Canal, whether he would equip municipal police officers in her city with the X23 the mayor responded, "It's dangerous there have already been 290 deaths in North America" she said. The use of this equipment by municipal police officers was authorized in late September by an order of the Ministry of Interior. Antoine Di Zazzo, owner of SMP Technologies, said he was shocked by the statements of Martine Aubry he has since tried in vain to call her. He therefore decided to send a summons giving him 48 hours to "prove the facts of the 290 victims of which she spoke." "When we assume the highest responsibilities, we must therefore speak responsibly with out outlandish accusations." he says. If he does not give the names, we will sue for derogatory slander of our product. SMP Technologies has already a defamation suit against Olivier Besancenot who also spoke of Taser deaths.


Anonymous said...

guilty until innocent, great world you are painting, those
290s, gee the coroners reports say otherwise but in your regime it's all a lie

Anonymous said...

It's time to pre-filter comments like the above. Otherwise it becomes a timesink to respond to them one-by-one...