Judicial supervision of Julien Coupat lightened

On Friday, the court annulled the majority of the obligations that the ten people in the so-called "Tarnac" group must respect.

Arrested a year ago for "criminal association with respect to a terrorist enterprise," the ten suspects in the investigation into the sabotage of the high-speed train lines saw the requirements of their release considerably lightened on Friday [18 December 2009]. The Court of Appeals in Paris made this decision against the advice of the Attorney General's Office, which requested the maintenance of the totality of the measures.

For Julien Coupat, the presumed leader of the so-called "Tarnac" group, and the nine other suspects, the court only kept the interdiction against them meeting together or communicating with each other. Their passports have been returned to them; they no longer are obligated to "check in" [pointer] at regular intervals with the police nor to reside in certain places only.

"This decision really smells of appeasement," said William Bourdon, one of the suspects' attorneys. At the beginning of December, the ten people placed under [judicial] supervision wrote an op-ed piece in Le Monde entitled "Why we will no longer respect the judicial restraints placed upon us."[1] They wrote therein "Imagine that you have the right to see whomever you like, except for those whom you love; that you can live anywhere except your home; that you can speak freely on the telephone or in the presence of unknown people, but that anything you say can, one day or another, be used against you. Imagine that you can do whatever you like, except for what you hold dear."

What the ten suspects will do now remains to be seen. Mr Bourdon says that they will now decide if they will maintain their position of no longer respecting any of their obligations, and thus remain vulnerable to being sent back to prison, or if they will agree to obey the new rules. Lifting the prohibition of communicating amongst themselves is one of their principal demands, and it hasn't been satisfied.

Since the beginning of this affair, the "Tarnac Nine" have maintained their innocence. The district attorney and the police have described them as "ultra-leftist" militants. But many suspicions[2] weigh upon the conduct of the investigation.

[1] Translator's note: Text translated and posted here.

[2] Translator's note: Text translated and posted here.

(Published on-line by Europe 1 on 18 December 2009. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! on 19 December 2009.)

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