French lawyer sentenced in Paris for defamation of Congolese whistleblowers

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In France, the Paris court sentenced on Thursday June 2 a French lawyer from Afriland Bank for defamation of two whistleblowers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Platform for the Protection of Whistleblowers in Africa ( Pplaaf). Maître Éric Moutet was prosecuted for remarks made in 2021 during a press conference.

During this press conference, in February 2021, Maître Éric Moutet described the two whistleblowers as ” counterfeiters “. Afriland Bank’s lawyer cites a judgment rendered by the Kinshasa court which sentences Navy Malela and Gradi Koko to death.

These two former bank employees denounced irregularities involving Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler.

The Paris court found on Thursday that the authenticity of the judgment could not be confirmed and therefore condemned Éric Moutet for defamation.

Finally, every time an organization, whistleblowers or journalists take an interest in Dan Gertler, they face unprecedented attacks, and therefore defamatory remarkssays Henri Tulliez, director of the Platform for the Protection of Whistleblowers in Africa. What we wanted to do with this trial is simply restore the honor of the Pplaaf, restore the honor of the whistleblowers, and ensure that all these red lines that have been crossed can no longer be to be in the future. »

Maître Éric Moutet replies that the court has accepted his lack of personal animosity and that he has been acquitted of part of the defamatory accusations. This lawyer appealed.

The full process will be known once the Paris Court of Appeal has reviewed and arbitrated the case. So for the moment, we are at the stage of a first instance, and a legal incident in the middle of many others in this file. “, explains Éric Moutet.

Navy Malela and Gradi Koko, who currently live in exile, are still facing the death penalty in the DRC.

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