With a bitterly-fought election in full swing, a left-leaning trade union representing French judges has attacked the government of President Nicolas Sarkozy, accusing it of leaking secrets to the news media from the investigation of a suspected serial killer to garner the support of voters, according to media reports.
The case of four serial murders near Paris had seized the public’s attention and the Sarkozy government had made an ostentatious show of sparing no effort to stop the killer. Two suspects were detained yesterday and numerous details were leaked to the press.
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Reporters were able to report on the time and places that two men were taken into custody, their ages, the execution of search warrants and the collection of key evidence, such as the discovery of a motorcycle believed to be that of the suspected killer.
According to the Agence France-Presse news agency, the Syndicat de la Magistrature, or Union of the Magistracy, a left-leaning union, said the Interior Ministry had given the press information “in violation of the secrecy of the investigation and the risk of endangering the inquiry.”
The union’s president, Matthieu Bonduelle, told the AFP, “I am accusing [the Interior Ministry] — because it wishes prematurely to gain the benefits, several days from an election, of an inquiry which concerns acts that are very serious and anguishing for the population — for one, of violating the secrecy of their investigation, and two, of endangering the investigation.”
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Bonduelle told AFP that “part of the press was informed of the first detention even before the investigating judges.” He also said the Interior Ministry had told reporters “of the names of people detained of certain acts of investigation that were underway or planned.”
Police custody for the two suspects was prolonged by a further 24 hours, according to the AFP.