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Why French Government Ordered Destruction of Nice Massacre Video Footage

© REUTERS / Eric GaillardTruck Attack in Nice, France
Truck Attack in Nice, France - Sputnik International
France’s anti-terrorist executive (sous-direction anti-terroriste- SDAT) has ordered Nice’s municipality authorities to destroy all CCTV footage of the Nice Attacks on Bastille Day that rocked the city on July 14, 2016. Philippe Blanchetier, lawyer of the municipality of Nice, spoke to Sputnik in an interview about this situation.

A soldier secures the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, southern France, Monday, July 18, 2016, prior to a minute of silence to honor the victims of the Bastille Day attack on Thursday in Nice - Sputnik International
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The explanation for this order was given by the French Ministry of Justice saying that they don’t want “uncontrolled” and “non-authorized distribution of the images of the terrorist attacks”.

The Judicial Police have noted that 140 videos of the attacks in their possession show “important pieces of the inquiry”.

According to SDAT, by destroying the CCTV footage, the dignity of the victims will not be insulted and the jihadists will not be able to use the footage for purpose of propaganda.

The municipality of Nice refused to comply with this requirement and intended to ask the prosecutor to impose sequestration of the video footage.

Philippe Blanchetier, lawyer of the municipality of Nice, explained to Sputnik what the reasons behind this decision are.

“In this case, there is one problem; there is a counter-terrorism investigation ongoing to determine the identity of the perpetrators of the attack, identity of possible accomplices and the establishment of human and material resources, which he would have used to carry out this horrific act.”

He further said that the victims or families of the victims have either directly or through non-governmental organizations expressed their desire and their intention to launch a criminal or civil action against the state and possibly against the local authorities of Nice.

“The administration of the city of Nice, which is not going to shy away from establishing the truth, wants the entire information source to be saved so that the victims are able to use all legal ways that they deem necessary,” Blanchetier said.

The lawyer further said that the explanation that is being presented is a far-fetched leakage of the footage.

“It should be noted that the only one who has access to these records, is the police and members of the urban monitoring center, those are carefully selected. So there is no risk of leakage.”

He further said that in any case, this is not as they say in the press. They say that the recording will fall in the hands of the jihadists, who will use it for propaganda purposes but that is a bad explanation, according to the lawyer.

There are two completely different investigations ongoing. First is by the anti-terrorism department who are trying to establish the identity of the person who committed the terrorist act and his possible accomplices.

“This procedure is nothing compared to what the victims can start if they demand to bring to responsibility the state and the local government,” Blanchetier said.

“This will be a procedure to prosecute rather than proceeding for the identification of those who committed this terrible act,” concluded the lawyer.

Authorities in Nice interviewed by Le Figaro earlier said that it is the first time they have ever been asked to destroy evidence at a crime scene and according to them this is illegal.

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The comments section of the Le Figaro article was full with comments of outrage and disgust by the fact that the French government, instead of preserving evidence for the purposes of a thorough, independent investigation, is in fact ordering the destruction of vital evidence.

In his article for the online portal Global Research, Gearóid Ó Colmáin, an Irish journalist based in Paris said that right now France’s Judicial Police and anti-terrorist authorities desire to destroy evidence of the attacks seems like they are trying to cover something up.

“In most crime cases, those who destroy or seek to destroy evidence are usually trying to cover something up. I have already pointed out some of the inconsistencies in the story we have been told about the Nice massacre. I have not claimed nothing happened or no one was killed but rather that the video evidence so far presented does not match the story,” Colmáin said.

But it seems like the French people are cottoning on and are finally expressing their doubt toward certain government’s decisions.

An article in France’s l’Est Républicain newspaper attempts to calm the French public of the government’s “right” intention by publishing an article with the title “No, the footage of the attack has not been deleted,” Global Research reported.

The report proclaims that the Ministry of Justice has not ordered the obliteration of evidence but just the deletion of the images from the cameras in Nice.

“This reassurance might be enough to placate those who are loathe to question the narrative of the war on terror. But, as the recent booing of French Prime Minister Manuel Valls in Nice showed, the French people are waking up,” Colmáin noted.

On July 14, a truck rammed into a large crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the city of Nice. At least 84 people, including children, were killed and hundreds of others were injured. Daesh terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack.

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