Friday, January 22, 2010

French journo 'brutalised' by metro cops

The Mail & Guardian reported on Thursday: South African police are investigating a case of police brutality aimed at an award winning French journalist, after her ordeal made headlines in France.
Sophie Bouillon alleges that she and her Zimbabwean boyfriend, Tendai, were pepper sprayed and manhandled by Johannesburg metro police on Friday night after being stopped in downtown Johannesburg. The couple was arrested and held overnight at the Hillbrow police station, before being released on Saturday morning.
They will appear in court on Thursday morning on charges of driving without a valid drivers license, interfering in an arrest and resisting arrest, but Bouillon is confident that the charges will be dismissed.
Her damning account, which she at first only emailed to friends, was picked up by the French media this week and appeared in French daily Liberation among others on Monday. It has been well read by the French public, some who were outraged by the "level of violence" in South Africa. Her friends had also posted her version on Facebook.
The latest incident for South Africa follows the so-called "Kill-a-tourist-day" incident where a British actress Victoria Smurfit, who starred in Ballykissangel, told the Irish Mail on Sunday she "came within inches of death" when a gunman opened fire on her taxi while holidaying in Cape Town. The 35-year-old actress claimed the attack was likely to have been a gang initiation ceremony dubbed 'Kill a Tourist Day', but South African police denied this. The article also appeared in the UK's Daily Mail.

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