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French anti-terror police shamed by anarchist trial outcome

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The alleged Tarnac group leader Julien Coupat ALAIN JOCARD / AFP

A lawyer in a high-profile French trial called for an end to the political manipulation of the legal system on Friday after a court dismissed charges against an alleged anarchist terror cell.


"If there is one lesson to learn from this case, it is that the political exploitation of the legal system must end," lawyer Marie Dosé commented the day after client was declared not guilty in a case that started 10 years ago with 150 masked police officers raiding a libertarian commune in rural France.

The interior minister at the time, Michèle Alliot-Marie, claimed that an "ultraleft, anarcho-autonomous movement linked to sabotage" had been broken up and public prosecutor Jean-Claude Marin described the farmhouse's residents as "an invisible cell ... whose aim was armed struggle".

But on Thursday presiding magistrate Corinne Goetzmann declared the "Tarnac group, named after the village where they lived, a "fiction" and slammed police for "ruses and stratagems" in their attempts to obtain guilty verdicts against the eight accused.

In 2017 a court had already ordered the accusation of terrorism to be dropped.

This week Goetzman cleared the alleged ringleaders, Dosé's client Yildune Lévy and her former partner Julien Coupat, of accusations that they had sabotaged a railway line near Paris, only finding them guilty of refusing to give DNA samples and refusing to punish them even for that.

Five other accused, Elsa Hauck, Bertrand Deveaud, Manon Glibert, Benjamin Rosoux and Mathieu Burnel, were cleared of all charges, while a sixth, Christophe Becker, was given a four-month suspended sentence for receiving stolen documents and trying to falsify administrative documents and a 500-euro suspended fine for refusing to give a DNA sample.

Only Lévy and Deveaud were present in court for the verdict.

"We are white, young, of middle-class origin, with cultural capital," Lévy commented. "People with different first names, the Mamadoue, the Fatimas, how can they overcome what we have overcome?"