France’s Macron pays homage to ‘victims of terrorism’

French President Emmanuel Macron stands at attention by the coffins of the four victims of the Oct. 3 attack at Paris police headquarters, during a ceremony in Paris, France on Oct. 8, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 09 October 2019

France’s Macron pays homage to ‘victims of terrorism’

  • Macron paid homage to the 4 police officials killed by their own colleague
  • French prosecutors are investigating the killings as a potential act of terrorism

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron led a national tribute Tuesday to the four police employees slain in last week's knife attack in Paris, calling them victims of terrorism.
At a ceremony at the police headquarters where they were stabbed to death in last Thursday's bloody rampage, a solemn Macron endured drizzle as he paid homage to the three police officers and one police administrator killed by their own colleague, a 45-year-old deaf technology administrator.
"They had made the choice to wear the uniform, to devote their lives to protecting others. They died in service, at work," said Macron, who was also met privately with families of the victims.
French prosecutors are investigating the killings as a potential act of terrorism as it transpired the knifeman likely had links with members of an ultra-conservative extremist movement.
"The whole nation (must) unite, mobilize, act... We will only win if our country gets up to fight against this underground (extremism) that corrupts the children of France," he added.
He proposed establishing a "society of vigilance" to protect France, a country still reeling from numerous extremist attacks in recent years — but he warned the French against "suspicion that corrodes."
Though Interior Minister Christophe Castaner initially said there were "no warning signs" ahead of the attack, he has since acknowledged breaches in security over a failure to detect signals of the attacker's radicalization. The man had previously "justified" the deadly 2015 extremist attack on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in front of his colleagues. No written report was made at the time.
It took some 24 hours after the attack for authorities to say it was a potential act of terrorism, and the French government initially maintained there was nothing to suggest the armed attacker had any ties to extremist groups.
Earlier Tuesday, Castaner posthumously bestowed France's highest award, the Legion of Honor, on the four victims. The fifth fatality, the knifeman himself, was shot dead by a rookie officer who had completed police academy training six days before the attack.
Authorities said the attacker had worked for the Paris police force as a technology administrator in the intelligence unit since 2003 and didn't have a history of psychiatric problems.
Tuesday's ceremony came as justice officials said French investigators found a USB stick belonging to the killer containing information about his colleagues.
Officials did not immediately confirm several French media reports that the memory stick contained extremist propaganda.


Asylum-seeking Iranian beauty queen still in custody at Manila airport

Updated 5 min 44 sec ago

Asylum-seeking Iranian beauty queen still in custody at Manila airport

  • Bahari said authorities in the Philippines were keeping her in the dark about the status of her asylum case
  • She has consistently said the assault and battery case against her is fake, and Tehran was targeting her for supporting an opposition politician

MANILA/AMMAN: An Iranian beauty queen seeking asylum in the Philippines remains incarcerated at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport almost a week after she was barred from entering the southeast Asian country due to an Interpol red notice.
Bahareh Zare Bahari, Iran’s representative to the 2018 Miss Intercontinental pageant, was arrested at the airport last Thursday following a charge against her for an assault and battery case allegedly committed in Dagupan City in the Philippines. Bahari denies any wrongdoing. 


Speaking to Arab News by telephone on Wednesday, Bahari said authorities in the Philippines were keeping her in the dark about the status of her asylum case.
“Filipino authorities are not updating me. They said they sent a letter to Interpol in Iran to get an answer from them. So they told me I have to wait until Iran Interpol answers,” she said. 
Bahari also said she was not feeling well and had been examined by a doctor at the airport on Tuesday. She did not provide details of her ailment.
Bahari has consistently said the assault and battery case against her is fake, and Tehran was targeting her for supporting an opposition politician and violating traditional values by taking part in beauty pageants and speaking for women’s rights.
In January, she appeared at a pageant carrying a picture of Reza Pahlavi, an Iranian opposition leader and founder of the National Council of Iran.
“I have used his photo in a beauty pageant and the Iranian government are angry with me,” Bahari said, adding: “If I am deported to Iran, they will give me at least 25 years in jail, if they do not kill me.”
Tehran has not commented on Bahari’s statements. 
Bahari said last week that she had traveled to the Philippines after a vacation in Dubai, where she did not encounter any problems with immigration authorities, adding that she was surprised when she was intercepted at the airport in Manila and informed that she was on an Interpol list.


Bahari said her lawyer “had checked all records in the Philippines and with Interpol,” but there was no record against her.
The beauty queen has denied committing any crimes in Iran, or in the Philippines where she has been studying dentistry since 2014.
The Philippines Department of Justice (DoJ) Undersecretary and spokesperson Mark Perete said in a statement last week that Bahari remained in custody at the airport and “could not be sent back to Iran because she has filed an application for asylum.”
The DoJ would resolve her asylum application “in due time,” Perete added.