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Anger at French broadcast of Islamist killer Merah's words

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Anger at French broadcast of Islamist killer Merah's words


Families of the victims of the French Islamist killer Mohamed Merah say they will take legal action to stop recordings of his conversations with police from being broadcast again.

The dialogue during the siege in Toulouse preceded the police raid in which he was shot dead.

Relatives are outraged that the material was aired by the country’s main private channel TF1, saying it adds to the families’ trauma. Now they fear worse is to come.

“The door is open to the next stage, by that I mean the pictures of the killing itself (being broadcast). I’m persuaded that it’s only a matter of days. And that worries me enormously,” said Albert Chennouf, whose son Abel, a soldier, was gunned down by Merah in the town of Montauban.

“What has struck me the most, personally, is this absence of consideration. This absence of advance warning, broadcast like that without informing anyone,” said Ariel Goldman, a lawyer for the victims’ families.

Merah killed three soldiers and four Jews, including three children, in separate attacks in March. He made a video recording of each murder which has not been published so far.

The French channel says the recordings of his exchanges with police are important as they give details of his avowed links to al Qaeda and prove the police wanted to take him alive.

“I understand these feelings. It is no less true that the material brings new information and that this information should be brought to the public and it should be brought to the families,” said Philippe Pecoul, TF1’s Editor-in-Chief.

TF1’s journalists’ association argued the broadcast was “perfectly legitimate”.

The French interior minister said it lacked respect for the victims’ families.

The French broadcasting watchdog has asked other channels not to air the recordings.

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