Freed French journalist calls for respect of press freedom after arrest

French journalist Ariane Lavrilleux, who was arrested over her report alleging that French intelligence was used by Egypt to kill civilians, denounced attacks on press freedom on Thursday following her release from custody.

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“My arrest shows that journalists have an impact and that we are necessary,” Lavrilleux told a media briefing held at the Reporters Without Borders headquarters in Paris.

“We will push our efforts to inform on arms sales to dictatorships so that citizens know what our governments are doing.”

In November 2021 the online media outlet Disclose published a series of articles, based on hundreds of secret documents, that said French intelligence had been misused by Egypt to target smugglers on the Libyan border and kill civilians.

Their publication prompted France’s armed forces minister to call for an investigation. 

Lavrilleux was arrested on Tuesday and her home in Marseille was searched. She was freed after 39 hours in custody.


Rights groups condemned what they said was an unacceptable attack on the secrecy of sources – a view backed by Reporters without Borders and the Society of Journalists.

“I am not indicted at the moment, but a sword of Damocles hovers above my head and above Disclose. Three of their journalists have already been targeted by the DGSI,” Lavrilleux said.

DGSI, or the General Directorate for Internal Security, is a French agency in charged with countering espionage, terrorism, cybercrime and the surveillance of potentially threatening groups.

France’s Ministry of the Armed Forces filed a complaint for “violation of national defence secrecy” following the publication of the articles, and a case was opened in July 2022 by the Paris prosecutor’s office that was then placed in the hands of the DGSI. Freed French journalist calls for respect of press freedom after arrest

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