One hurt in French nightclub shooting over Covid pass

Two men who were refused entry to a French nightclub for producing a fake Covid health pass have been arrested over a shooting at the venue that left one partygoer injured, prosecutors said Sunday.

A spectator shows his health pass certificate prior to the start of a football match in Paris.
A spectator shows his health pass certificate prior to the start of a football match in Paris. People have needed to show a valid health pass to enter certain public venues since July in France. (Photo by GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP)

The incident took place on Thursday night in the outskirts of the eastern town of Montbeliard.

“It has been confirmed that one of the men tried to present a health pass that did not match his identity,” the public prosecutor for the area, Ariane Combarel, told AFP.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How the French health pass works

The pair then left the scene only to return a short while later in a car, from which several shots were fired in the direction of the club, she added.

A man who was enjoying a night out at the club sustained gunshot wounds to the knee, according to regional media.

Combarel said he had required surgery and had been written off work for six weeks.

Since July, people in France have been required to present a Covid-19 pass in order to enter public venues such as restaurants, nightclubs, gyms or cinemas.

The pass, available in paper form or as a QR code on a smartphone, proves the person has been either vaccinated against Covid, recently tested negative for the virus or already had Covid and recovered from it.

Announced by President Emmanuel Macron in July, it prompted millions of people to get the jabs after holding out for months, giving France one of the world’s highest vaccination rates.

But the pass has also drawn controversy, with thousands of people attending weekly protests in cities across France against what they call Macron’s establishment of a health “dictatorship”.

A number of people have attempted to circumvent the rules by buying fake Covid passes on social media or using one belonging to a friend in the hope that they are not asked to produce ID.

READ ALSO: What tourists can do if their French health pass doesn’t arrive in time

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Ex French PM Fillon loses appeal over ‘fake jobs’ scandal

A French appeals court on Monday upheld a conviction against former rightwing prime minister François Fillon for providing a fake parliamentary assistant job to his wife that saw her paid millions of euros in public funds.

Ex French PM Fillon loses appeal over 'fake jobs' scandal

But the court reduced his sentence to four years in prison with three suspended – down from five years with three suspended when he was first found guilty in 2020 over a scandal that derailed Fillon’s presidential ambitions.

His wife Penelope Fillon was given a suspended two-year prison sentence for the embezzlement charge, down from three years suspended, and the court maintained fines of €375,000 for each of them.

They were also ordered to repay €800,000 to the lower-house National Assembly, which reimbursed Penelope for the job as Fillon’s assistant, and which was a civil plaintiff in the case.

Under French sentencing guidelines, it is unlikely that Fillon will spend any time behind bars, and can be ordered instead to wear an ankle-bracelet.

The couple, which insisted during the Paris appeals court trial that Penelope had done genuine constituency work, was not in court for the verdict.

At the November appeals hearing, prosecutors said there was clear evidence that Fillon and his stand-in as MP for the Sarthe department, Marc Joulaud, employed Fillon’s wife Penelope in an “intangible” or “tenuous” role as a parliamentary assistant between 1998 and 2013.

The court upheld the original three-year suspended sentence for Joulaud.