80-year-old Algerian woman killed by tear gas in France

More accusations against police in France for the 80-year-old Algerian woman killed by tear gas.

In the midst of a crisis of confidence of the French people towards the police, and a heated debate over the new security law, accusations were made against the French National Police  (CRS) in the death of an 80-year-old Algerian woman, hit in the face by a tear gas grenade during a protest demonstration in the center of Marseille on 2 December 2018.

The story of Zineb Redouane, nicknamed 'Mama Zina', has been stirred up again in France after the publication of an independent counter-investigation by the online media group Disclose and the London-based research group Forensic Architecture.

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The video reconstruction of the terrible incident directly implicates the responsibility of the national police in the killing of the elderly woman, who was at the window of her apartment on the fourth floor of the Rue des Feuillants, when she was struck by tear gas launched during the protests for the right to decent housing for all.

Severely injured, Redouane died the next day in a hospital.  The outcome of the lastest reports invalidates the first conclusion of the official investigation, and the report of the public experts who had already excluded the police agents as directly responsible, and were considered to be in compliance with all procedures to activate the tear gas.

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Disclose's analysis was based on the initial report, video surveillance images and a detailed three-dimensional model.  From these tests, it was found that the direct frontal presence of several buildings should have represented a red alert to police to not use tear gas at that precise point.  The MP7 type of tear gas used in this circumstance is also able to reach a target at 100 meters.

In light of these conclusions, the victim's daughter, Milfert Redouane, filed a complaint against the then Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner, at the Court of Justice of the French Republic.

A magistrate from Lyon, who was present for the first part of the investigation, could now ask for a new expert opinion.  For Yassine Bouzrou, lawyer of the victim's family, several statements made at the time of the events by Castaner and the attorney of Marseille, Xavier Tarabeux, have "hampered the truth".

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According to the version of the two authorities, the 80-year-old woman died from shock during surgery, and not from the facial shock, and "there was no direct link between the tear gas throw and the death of the elderly woman".

These past statements are now back in the eye of the storm, as the debate on the controversial new security law rages in France, with protests and criticism that have prompted the government to review article 24 banning published photos of police agents engaged in operations.

Ph: Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock.com

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