‘Wall of idiots’ causes uproar in France

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IOL pic nov28 france sarkozy

Reuters

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy

A panel dubbed the “wall of idiots” uncovered in the office of a union representing French judges, containing a mishmash of photos of politicians, journalists and the fathers of murdered girls, has caused an uproar.

Ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, interior minister Manuel Valls, prominent TV presenter David Pujadas and many other mostly right-wing figures are on the panel, filmed secretly inside the union headquarters.

Shots of the fathers of two girls who were murdered, including Jean-Pierre Escarfail, whose daughter was murdered and raped by a notorious serial killer Guy Georges, are also pinned onto the huge panel at the “Magistrates' Union”.

The video of the panel, published on news website Atlantico earlier this week, has caused an uproar in France, drawing shock and condemnation from both right- and left-wing politicians.

“It's intolerable, because you have a certain image to give to people when you are invested with a task, particularly a task of justice,” Claude Bartolone, the Socialist speaker of France's lower house said on Thursday.

“There are things that just aren't done. There are codes that must be respected,” he said on RTL radio.

The union represents nearly a third of all judges in France, and is considered left-wing.

The panel, hung up on an office wall, is tagged with a sign that reads: “Before adding an idiot, check that he isn't there already.”

Justice minister Christiane Taubira on Wednesday condemned an “unfortunate act” by the union, and said anyone was free to lodge a complaint over the issue. Several people who figure on the wall have already decided to do so.

The union, meanwhile, said the wall was put up when Sarkozy was president, when “judges were being attacked left, right and centre”, adding that the panel was hung up in a private place not accessible to the public.

Judges had a highly conflictual relationship with Sarkozy when he was in power, and have criticised pressure on magistrates, a series of useless laws and badly done penal reforms during his time in office.

Escarfail, meanwhile, has been critical of the justice system after his daughter Pascale was killed by Georges in 1991 just days after he was freed from prison, where he was serving time for rape. - AFP


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