No State Protection for Charlie Hebdo's Zineb El Rhazoui Despite Twitter Death Threats


Zineb El Rhazouni, Franco-Moroccan Charlie Hebdo journalist, in Paris 11 February 2015

Writing in L'OBS, Renaud Février reveals that the French state has not provided protection for a Charlie Hebdo journalist and her Moroccan husband despite calls for their death and maps indicating their movements being published via Twitter. Article source: "La journaliste de 'Charlie Hebdo' Zineb El Rhazoui menacée de mort sur Twitter", Renaud Février, L'OBS, 20/02/2015. Photo source: Citizenside / Patrice Pierrot.

For a glossary of party names, click here, for another on the French media click here and for an A-Z of key terms, personalities, dates and events, click here. For more about this project between the Lille University students and Mediapart English, click here.




Pictures of her and her husband, photoshopped images of the couple dressed as Isis prisoners about to be executed, geolocation information and suggestions on how to kill them... The Franco-Moroccan journalist who works for Charlie Hebdo, Zineb El Rhazoui, and her husband, the Moroccan writer Jaouad Benaïssi, have received death threats on Twitter from people claiming to be from Islamic State.

A map published on a Twitter account shows the different places where the journalist, referred to as “apostate” or “non-believer”, often goes.

Tonight [Tuesday night] a trending Twitter hashtag, is explicitly threatening my husband's life and mine” the journalist explains in a Facebook message, asking Abdellatif Hammouchi, the head of Moroccan counter-espionage, to protect her husband.

Pictures of my husband, his workplace and geolocation information have been published, as well as various suggestions on how to bump us off.”

Will he be able to go to work tomorrow?”

Moroccan news website has confirmed that Jaouad Benaissi, who has been receiving threats for the past few days, has already filed an official complaint.

Will he be able to go to work tomorrow given that hundreds of online identities claiming to belong to Isis have revealed the location of his workplace via social networks?" wonders Zineb El Rhazoui.

The journalist claims that French state authorities take action every time a French citizen is the target of “only a tenth of the threats my husband has been receiving.” And, she says, there is still no guarantee that Morocco will “take threats against people seriously, and particularly my husband.”

Yet, Le Figaro has reported that the Franco-Moroccan journalist isn’t protected in France either, which has got some Internet users’ up in arms.

Pamela Vestris

Hello @BCazeneuve, @manuelvalls, why aren’t #ZinebElRhazoui and her family getting personal protection? …

00:30 - 20 Feb 2015

A female member of the Moroccan Parliament also under threat

The journalist has received messages of support from several Internet users and the backing of the Syndicat national des journalistes (SNJ) [French national journalists’ union] who published a press release “unequivocally” denouncing “the death threats sent to the journalist via a Twitter account”.

These incitements to murder show that the instigators of hate speech have not gone away. Their goal is to put an end to the freedom of expression, to gag the liberty of the press and to frighten journalists.”

Journalist Caroline Fourest, has called for “democrats” to draw attention to the threats made to Zineb El Rhazoui and her husband.

Caroline Fourest


To all the democrats on Twitter. Don’t let them threaten Charlie’s Zineb El Rhazoui. Report their threats on!input.action …

11:25 - 19 Feb 2015

This is not the first time that Zineb El Rhazoui has received death threats. In Tangier in January, during a Salafist sit-in following the
Charlie Hebdo killings, protesters chanted slogans calling for her death. She has also had trouble with the Moroccan authorities before.

According to Moroccan news website, Khadija Rouissi, a member of the opposition Parti authenticité et modernité [Party for authenticity and modernity] and Najwa Koukouss, campaigner for the Bayt Al Hikma association — who both defend freedom of expression, and have expressed support for the Charlie Hebdo staff — have also been the targets of death threats over the past few days.

The website suggests that the wave of intimidation began after the journalist appeared on the France 24 international television channel to speak about her experiences.

Translated by Justine Minard, Manon Divet and Magalie Langue.

Editing by Sam Trainor.

Le Club est l'espace de libre expression des abonnés de Mediapart. Ses contenus n'engagent pas la rédaction.