Journalist Ariane Lavrilleux described Wednesday evening as "very worrying" the decision taken by a judge of freedoms and detention to validate the seizures made at his home as part of an investigation into breaches of defense secrecy of which the media Disclose is accused.
"I learned this (Wednesday) evening that the judge has decided to add (to the file) almost all the documents that were seized from my apartment," she said in a video posted on social networks. The Disclose website specifies that "seven out of ten documents" will be added to the investigation file.
🚨 Handwritten notes, emails, working documents... Almost all the documents seized at @AriaLavrilleux's home will be added to the proceedings, i.e. 7 out of 10
Tonight, a judge has just authorized an unprecedented attack on the protection of sources pic.twitter.com/pWGedOyOm5
— Disclose (@Disclose_ngo) September 27, 2023
"Handwritten notes, emails... This is an absolutely scandalous decision, very worrying (...) for journalists and all of you who inform us on a daily basis about sensitive cases that affect the responsibility of the State," insisted Ariane Lavrilleux. No judicial source could immediately confirm the information to AFP.
A former soldier indicted for misappropriation and disclosure of national defense secrets
Ariane Lavrilleux, who collaborates with the investigative site Disclose, had been placed for 39 hours in police custody, between Tuesday 19 and Wednesday 20 September. This police custody was carried out as part of a judicial investigation ongoing since July 2022, opened by the Paris prosecutor's office for compromising national defense secrecy and revealing information to discover the identity of intelligence agents. The searches carried out at his home in Marseille were contested by his defence, in the name of freedom of the press and the protection of the confidentiality of sources.
A former soldier, whom the justice seems to consider as one of the sources of articles published by Disclose, was indicted on September 21 for misappropriation and disclosure of national defense secrets by its depositary. First placed under judicial control, he was imprisoned on Monday.
'Unacceptable in democracy'
"What the authorities are looking for is only our sources," lashed Ariane Lavrilleux. "This is unacceptable in a democracy," she insisted, calling on anyone to "challenge our political representatives".
The survey focuses on several articles published by Disclose since 2019. The latter relate to French arms sales abroad but also to Operation "Sirli", a French intelligence mission in Egypt that this country would have diverted to target and kill opponents. The investigations began after two complaints filed by the Ministry of the Armed Forces in 2021.
Tuesday, at the National Assembly, the LFI deputies had left the hemicycle, after denouncing, through the voice of Bastien Lachaud, an "authoritarian drift" of the government.
"When public action is underway, justice must do its job," retorted the Minister of Justice Eric Dupont-Moretti. "If the judiciary believes that this complaint should not prosper, it will say so, if it believes otherwise, it will also say so independently."