Tuesday, April 27, 2004

German journalist’s office is raided by Belgian police …. Again

The hapless Hans-Martin Tillack, Brussels correspondent of Stern magazine has had his office raided again just a month after it had happened the first time. Since the first raid on March 19 he had kept most of his files in sealed boxes. On April 21 the Belgian police (that had spent rather a long time finding, arresting and charging Marcel Dutroux, whose trial is now dragging on) brought in a locksmith to break open a sealed-off cabinet and extract hundreds of pages of notes. Then they confiscated some other notes and Herr Tillack’s laptop computer, which had already been in police custody.

Herr Tillack apparently could have avoided the second raid if he had given the police at least one of his contacts’ names, despite the fact that all human rights and press freedom agreements, to all of which the EU and its members enthusiastically subscribe, allow for protection of journalists’ sources.

Letters of protest have gone to OLAF (the EU anti-fraud agency) chief Franz-Hermann Brüner, the Belgian prosecutor overseeing the case and Diemut theato, chairwoman of the European Parliament budgetary control [sic] committee.

The investigative journalist insists that EU topics will continue to be investigated. “We will not let them scare us.” Just as well, perhaps, that not all member states have implemented the EU arrest warrant.

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