FRANCE

Worker who eluded Charlie Hebdo killers sues French TV

FRANCE 24 archives | Lilina Lepère recounts his ordeal on France 2 in January, 2015
2 min

An employee of a French print works where police cornered and killed the two brothers responsible for January’s deadly Charlie Hebdo killings is suing French TV for allegedly putting his life in danger during the siege.

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Lilian Lepère, 26, spent eight hours hiding under a leaky sink after the Kalashnikov-wielding Kouachi brothers, Cherif and Saïd, took over the print works in Dammartin-en-Goële, some 40km from Paris.

The Kouachi brothers had been on the run for 48 hours after entering the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo where they killed 12 people.

French special forces eventually stormed the print works, and Lepère and his boss, who had been taken hostage, survived the ordeal.

But in the fallout from the police siege, Lepère’s relief turned to anger as he reviewed the live coverage from three broadcasters, namely the France 2 and TF1 television stations, and RMC radio.

He now accuses the channels of endangering his life by saying live on air that there were possibly employees still on the site and that the terrorists weren’t aware of it, French daily Le Parisien reported on Tuesday.

“Divulging this information in real time, while the armed and determined Kouachi brothers were probably following the TV coverage themselves, put Lilian at risk,” his lawyer told the newspaper.

Lepère isn’t the first person to sue the French media for its role covering the killings in January.

Six shoppers at a Jewish supermarket that was targeted three days after the Charlie Hebdo killings by gunman Amedy Coulibaly, who killed four people, complained in March that the media’s live coverage of the event had put their lives at risk.

The six, who were hidden in the supermarket’s walk-in freezer, are suing BFM TV for broadcasting the position of police around the supermarket, while also revealing that there may have been people hiding in the building that the gunman wasn’t aware of.

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