3 questions to Ludovic Rivière, one of the lawyers of Hussam Hammoud, a Syrian journalist who has just obtained his visa in France

The Syrian journalist Hussam Hammoud has finally just obtained his visa in France through the courts. A declared opponent of the Bashar-el-Assad regime and the Islamists, he could not come to French territory. Master Ludovic Rivière retraces his career.

The Toulouse lawyer Ludovic Rivière had been in the confidence of obtaining his visa since October 6, 2022. But it was only today that the news was made official to preserve the life in Syria of the journalist, Hussam Hammoud . Me Rivière was in Nantes on October 5 during the summary hearing before the administrative court to get him his visa in France.

France 3 Occitanie: Master, what is the background of Hussam Hammoud?

Ludovic Riviere: he is a 30-year-old man with the double activity of journalist and “fixer”. That’s to say a person who serves as an intermediary, interpreter and guide to a(e) journalist in an insecure country. He was an activist anti Bashar-al-Assad. Native rakka (Syria)he had to flee to other Syrian cities further east when the state Islamic has been established. He was threatened with death, abducted and tortured by Daesh for a month, following his investigations. He was also shot while driving. He then exiled himself to Turkey, because there are antennas Daesh. He is a militant journalist for the freedom of the press, but he is above all one of the best specialists in Daesh. He worked in France for MediapartFrance Info, France Inter, RawArt, The World. His investigations were cited at the time of the trial of the November 13 attacks. His enormous work has uncovered records in Syrian ruins in the footsteps of the Clain brothers and others. He found these registers with the names of the jihadists. These documents were handed over to the Paris anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office, which uses them for each trial.

France 3 Occitanie: And despite all that, the French state did not want to grant him a visa at first?

Ludovic Riviere: indeed, it is still very surprising. Despite all his work, all he has done for France in the fight against jihadism. The French services questioned him in Ankara (Turkey)very long interrogations, because he had a lot of information. He ended up revealing some ultra-confidential things. Following the refusal of the French State to grant him a humanitarian visa on September 5, 2022, he again received direct threats from Daesh through accounts Twitter very recently. It was September 7 and 8 with very explicit tweets. And when he asked for his visa to France, the country of human rights refused him. We therefore seized the administrative court of Nantes for interim measures. The hearing was held behind closed doors, as any information coming out of court could cause his death. In less than 24 hours, the court suspended the decision of the French government.

France 3 Occitanie: What will happen now?

Ludovic Riviere: lhe hearing was held on October 5 in Nantes. The same day, there was the release of his book co-written with journalist Céline Martelet: “Asphyxiation. Raqqa, chronicle of an apocalypse” at Denoel.

The court decision was made on October 6, but no one communicated until today, the time he crossed the Turkish border. Hussam Hamoud is threatened by Islamists but also the Turks, the Kurds… These countries want to do everything to prevent journalists from speaking and writing. Today, we can finally announce the good news. He obtained a visa in France to seek asylum there. VS’is a fighter for freedom if France refused him asylum, I wouldn’t understand a thing.

He’s an investigative journalist in danger. He runs great risks to promote freedom. He filed his asylum application, a refusal would be incomprehensible. Today he arrived in France. There he is resting but from next week I think he will speak to the media. He will be able to continue his enormous work, more freely.

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