Hollande visits victim of alleged police rape in hospital
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Theo, the 22-year-old black youth worker who has claimed police sodomised him with a baton during a violent confrontation in a Paris suburb last week, received a visit in hospital from French president François Hollande on Tuesday.
Hollande stayed at Theo’s bedside for half an hour, according to the AFP.
Theo has been in hospital since last Thursday due to injuries sustained during a police encounter in the north-eastern suburb or Aulnay-sous-Bois.
During the meeting, which was recorded, Theo also called on local youths to “stop the war and stay united”.
The alleged rape has sparked protests across the French capital and its suburbs. On Tuesday night, the fourth consecutive night of demonstrations, several hundred people gathered in eastern Paris in support of Theo. In neighbouring suburbs protestors set rubbish bins and cars on fire.
However Tuesday’s demonstrations were more subdued than those that took place on Monday night, when police in Aulnay-sous-Bois fired rounds of gunfire into the air after they claimed to have been cornered by local youths.
Of the 26 people arrested Monday night, 17 of them, including 11 minors, are due to appear in court on Wednesday.
Prime minister urges ‘utmost severity’
French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has said that police officers “must be exemplary at every moment”, despite the daily threats of terrorism and violence they may face.
However the conservative mayor of Aulnay-sous Bois, Bruno Beschizza, said he was “unsatisfied with the prime minister’s laconic press release.”
While most French presidential candidates have condemned police violence since the incident, far-right candidate Marine Le Pen said on Tuesday that her "basic principle" was to support police.
Four officers in total have been charged in the affair; one with rape, and three others with assault. All have been suspended.
The “Theo affair”, as it has come to be known, has revived past controversies over police brutality in France.