French press review 30 September 2015


French conservatives split over Nadine Morano's "white man's France"; Bernard Tapie's new claims for a million euros in Adidas reparations; an 11-year-old Calabrian placed under police protection after denouncing his mafia boss father; and France under fire as a Saudi teenager faces decapitation for his role in the 2012 Arab Spring, all feature in the French press.


The handsome face of Saudi death row prisoner Ali Mohammed Al Nimr looks down from the front page of l’Humanité, and the Communist party daily fears for his life.

The 20-year-old faces imminent decapitation by sword and the crucifixion of his body for demonstrating against the Saudi monarchy during the 2012 Arab Spring.

Ali Mohammed Al Nimr was just 17 when he joined the protests in his home town of Qatif in the eastern region of Awamiyeh, recalls Humanité. The paper says it is all the more shocking to know that the young Ali risks becoming the 134th Saudi decapitated in the strategic ally of democracies such as the United States and France.

The Communist party newspaper reports that France signed 10.3 billion euros worth of contracts, including arms sales worth 3 billion euros, with the theocratic regime this September alone. It criticises France for turning a blind eye to the human rights abuses taking place in the kingdom.

Le Figaro takes up the storm gathering around conservative MEP Nadine Morano after her controversial remarks about France being a white man’s country.

According to the publication, Morano’s Les Républicains party is split over the affair with a faction led by ex-environment minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet clamouring for sanctions, including her exclusion as the movement’s candidate in upcoming regional elections in the key constituency of Meurthe et Moselle.

Brice Hortefeux, the political adviser to the party’s leader Nicolas Sarkozy, is trying to minimise this, pointing out that the idea within the LR party is to prevent the oxidisation of the matter which clearly smacks racism.

La Croix has been observing the reception granted to Muslim refugees from Syria. The Catholic newspaper went out and met three families warmly received in the village of Jumillac-le-Grand in the countryside Dordogne region, where they have been trying to rebuild their lives since their arrival in France last year. Things seem to be on the right track for them, says the pape,r except for the fact that jobs are hard to find.

The Catholic daily La Croix expresses outrage at the 1.2-billion-euro paycheck demanded by disgraced tycoon Bernard Tapie as compensation from the state over the sale of sportswear firm Adidas, which he was advised to sell by the defunct Credit Lyonnais Bank which then ceded it to another businessman at several times the price.

The former owner of the Olympique Marseille football club was awarded 403 million euros by an arbitration panel in 2008, but that decision was overturned in February. Prosecutors have accused one of the arbitration judges of conspiring with Tapie and others to rig the payout in the businessman's favour.

For the Catholic newspaper, many are the French people who would feel exasperated by the astronomical reparations Tapie is trying to obtain from the public treasury in times as hard these. The paper says that even if Tapie’s grounds for seeking such reparations could be founded, the fact he was jailed for his crooked dealings makes his claims indecent.

And Libération tells the unbelievable story of an 11-year-old from Calabria who has set fire on the Italian mafia by passing over vital information to prosecutors. Libé says that the boy was placed under heavy police protection after he denounced his father as one of the bosses of the powerful organised crime Ndanghreta clan.

“My dad was a right-hand man to the clan leader Nando Cimato and everyone knew that he and the Bellocco family were the ones giving the orders” to drug dealers, said the lad.

Libération reports that his father was arrested last year after anti-mafia police discovered an arsenal of revolvers, 9mm pistols and stocks of Kalashnikov cartridges. The kid’s mother is also currently under arrest as she was caught trying to hide a sachet of drugs and a pistol under her padded bra during the raid on their home, according to Libération

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