Fainting in Coyles An occasional letter from the
Heart of Euroville
Friday, March 19, 2004
Update on Hans-Martin It seems he was arrested at about 10.30 this morning. So far the police wll not say why. The International Federation of Journalists are trying to do something about it. I spoke to OLAF, who told me that,'
"It is in the hands of the Belgian authorities" When I pressed them on whether the anti fraud office had anything to do with the case (there modus operandi is to gather evidence and hand it over to the national authorities) theere was a terse, "No comment". The spokeswoman would say no more.
When the police arrived Hans-Martin was pushed into his office, other journalists who work in the same building tried to get union officials in to see him to no avail. When his magazine found out the sent a laywer round immediately. The laywer was refused access to Hans-Martin as he was interrogated.
Rumours in the German speaking press talk about it being about the MEP corription scandal, while the IFJ and the Stern incline more to t he OLAF aspect. As do I.
What is very interesting is that under Belgian law journalists HAVE to hand over details of contacts and sources if they are demanded bythe authorities. There is currently a law changing this going through thge Belgian Federal Parliament to strengthen journalists confidentiality, it should be past before the summer. Hans-Martin was due to return to Hamburg in aboput 3 weeks. So the authorities were going to have to act fast.
This is a very worrying example of the way in which the law is used against the freedom of speech. Please let people know about this.