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World Conspiracist charged over alleged French coup plot

14:20  28 october  2021
14:20  28 october  2021 Source:   bbc.com

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A far-right conspiracy theorist has been charged with terrorism over an alleged plot to overthrow the French government, among other violent acts.

Rémy Daillet was already being prosecuted for his alleged role in a child kidnapping © Getty Images Rémy Daillet was already being prosecuted for his alleged role in a child kidnapping

Rémy Daillet is accused of forming an extremist group to plan a series of attacks against the French state.

French reports say he allegedly recruited soldiers for an attempt to seize the presidential palace in Paris.

Mr Daillet's lawyer denied the allegations and called him a "political prisoner".

Once a regional leader of a centrist political party, Mr Daillet, 54, has become an influential figure in French conspiracy circles.

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The Frenchman was already being prosecuted for allegedly organising the abduction of an eight-year-old girl at her mother's request in eastern France in April.

The girl was found safe with her mother in Switzerland, five days after she was taken from her grandmother's home.

French prosecutors then issued an international warrant for Mr Daillet, who was living with his family in Malaysia. He was deported for over-staying his visa and arrested in June as he returned to France.

Mr Daillet told French TV at the time that it was not "a kidnapping, but rather the return of a child to her mother at her request".

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Since then, Mr Daillet has faced new allegations of criminality. An anti-terrorist judge had ordered the arrests of Mr Daillet and others as part of an investigation into a shadowy group known as Honour and nation.

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A judge charged Mr Daillet with terrorist conspiracy on Friday last week. Now, French media have reported more details of the allegations against him.

Operation Azul

Sources close to the investigation told broadcaster France Info that Mr Daillet allegedly used encrypted messaging to build a vast network of conspiracy theorists.

Over several months, Mr Daillet is suspected to have set up an underground organisation with several dozen members, France Info reported.

The broadcaster said the organisation appealed to anti-vaccine circles and neo-Nazi activists in eastern France.

For a project known as Operation Azul, 12 suspects are accused of plotting a series of attacks against Covid-19 vaccination centres, a masonic lodge, journalists and prominent people, sources told the AFP news agency.

One source told AFP the suspects had "the idea of a coup d'état, of an overthrow of the French government".

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a man wearing a suit and tie: Rémy Daillet-Wiedemann rose to prominence with videos that spread conspiracy theories (file image) © AFP Rémy Daillet-Wiedemann rose to prominence with videos that spread conspiracy theories (file image)

BFM TV said it had confirmed this report. Citing its own sources, BFM TV said former soldiers had been ordered to train recruits for a plot to storm the Élysée Palace, the official residence of French President Emmanuel Macron.

The attackers then planned to capture the French parliament, before occupying a radio or television channel to disseminate propaganda, according to BFM TV.

Last week Mr Daillet's lawyer, Jean-Christophe Basson-Larbi, said his client had no links to the Honour and nation group nor with the planned attacks.

"No objective element points to his involvement," the lawyer said.

Who is Remy Daillet?

In the 2000s Mr Daillet was a local politician in south-western France and stood with the centrist Democratic Movement.

He was eventually expelled from the party, before moving to the far-right and gaining prominence within the conspiracy movement for videos calling for a "popular coup d'état".

"I have decided to take power in France, to restore this country, to give you your freedom," he said in a YouTube video published last year.

A manifesto linked to one of his videos repeated baseless conspiracy theories that 5G and face masks are harmful.

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