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TERRORISM

Suspected jihadists ‘threatened Pope Francis’

UPDATED: Four people arrested in Italy and Kosovo on suspicion of spreading jihadist propaganda online allegedly made threats against Pope Francis and the former US ambassador to Kosovo.

Suspected jihadists 'threatened Pope Francis’
Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The gang also praised the Paris terrorist attacks, in which 130 people were killed on November 13th.

The four, all Kosovan citizens, were arrested as part of an anti-terror sweep conducted by police in Brescia in cooperation with Kosovan authorities, Corriere reported.

Described as “a highly dangerous group” with alleged links to jihadists in Syria, they are accused of “condoning terrorism” and “inciting racial hatred”.

Carmine Esposito, from Brescia’s police unit, told Rai Tre on Tuesday that the group “threatened Pope Francis, celebrated the recent attacks in Paris and threatened the ex-US ambassador in Kosovo.”

In reference to Pope Francis, investigators found online threats made by the group, including one saying “this will be the last Pope”. 

The arrests followed raids in the Italian cities Brescia, Vicenza and Perugia as well as Kosovo.

Police said “the [alleged] terrorist team propagated the ideology of jihad through social networks”.

The gang’s “mastermind” is believed to have lived in Italy before being arrested in Kosovo. The other three were arrested in Italy, where they have been living for some time.

Italy has upped its anti-terror crackdown since the Paris attacks on November 13th, expelling four Moroccans suspected of spreading extremist views a week later.

A manual containing details of how to carry out a terror attack was found on the computer of one of the four.

Italian police also last month announced a swoop on a European jihadist network that was allegedly planning to try to spring its leader out of detention in Norway.

Security has also been tightened at borders, airports and key sites across Italy.

CRIME

Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim’s x-ray

A Paris court on Wednesday convicted a surgeon for trying to sell an X-Ray image of a wounded arm of a woman who survived the 2015 terror attacks in the French capital.

Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim's x-ray

Found guilty of violating medical secrecy, renowned orthopaedic surgeon Emmanuel Masmejean must pay the victim €5,000 or face two months in jail, judges ordered.

Masmejean, who works at the Georges-Pompidou hospital in western Paris, posted the image of a young woman’s forearm penetrated by a Kalashnikov bullet on marketplace Opensea in late 2021.

The site allows its roughly 20 million users to trade non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – certificates of ownership of an artwork that are stored on a “blockchain” similar to the technology used to secure cryptocurrencies.

In the file’s description, the surgeon wrote that the young woman he had operated on had “lost her boyfriend in the attack” on the Bataclan concert hall, the focus of the November 2015 gun and bomb assault in which jihadists killed 130 people.

The X-Ray image never sold for the asking price of $2,776, and was removed from Opensea after being revealed by investigative website Mediapart in January.

Masmejean claimed at a September court hearing that he had been carrying out an “experiment” by putting a “striking and historic medical image” online – while acknowledging that it had been “idiocy, a mistake, a blunder”.

The court did not find him guilty of two further charges of abuse of personal data and illegally revealing harmful personal information.

Nor was he barred from practicing as prosecutors had urged, with the lead judge saying it would be “disproportionate and inappropriate” to inflict such a “social death” on the doctor.

The victim’s lawyer Elodie Abraham complained of a “politically correct” judgement.

“It doesn’t bother anyone that there’s been such a flagrant breach of medical secrecy. It’s not a good message for doctors,” Abraham said.

Neither Masmejean, who has been suspended from his hospital job, nor the victim were present for Wednesday’s ruling.

The surgeon may yet face professional consequences after appearing before the French medical association in September, his lawyer Ivan Terel said.

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