Five people were shot dead by religious extremist terrorists in the Casa Nostra restaurant in November 2015
The owner of one of the restaurants where religious extremist terrorists opened fire on patrons during the Paris Attacks has been convicted in a French court of selling the CCTV footage from that night to British tabloid The Daily Mail.
The coverage, which was distributed all over the world, captured the moment when terrorist gunmen indiscriminately took aim at terrified diners and staff at the Casa Nostra. According to official reports, no-one was killed inside the restaurant, though five people lost their lives in another across the road.
In total, 130 people were killed across the city on November 13th, 2015, as a number of restaurants and bars were targeted, as well as the Bataclan music theatre.
Restaurant owner Dimitri Mohamadi was this week found guilty of “disclosing video images to an unauthorised person.” French police officers, after viewing the Casa Nostra CCTV footage, had encrypted the files, but Mohamadi organised for a computer-savvy acquaintance to hack them so he could sell them on.
In the days after the attack, a French journalist managed to capture on a hidden camera the 45-year-old restauranteur selling the CCTV footage to the tabloid for €50,000; that video captures the moments when a terrorist points his AK-47 at a woman, only for it to jam when he attempts to shoot her.
Dimitri Mohamadi appears on a French news programme to answer questions about the CCTV footage [YouTube]
The transaction reportedly took more than a day to complete, with the Daily Mail needing time to put together the money in cash.
Mohamadi had also attempted to sell the footage to other news agencies in France.
Despite the restaurant owner's denial of having profited from the sale, the judge issued him a fine of €10,000. Two accomplices were also fined €5,000 and €1,500 for their role. All three men have also been ordered to pay €6,000 each to five patrons at the restaurant who had pressed charges against them.
Freelance journalist Djaffer Ait Aoudia managed to film both the negotiations between Mohamadi and the Daily Mail, as well as the handover of cash. That footage was broadcast on the Le Petit Journal news programme on French broadcaster Canal Plus.
After the story broke, the Daily Mail defended its decision to purchase the footage and distribute it without police permission.
“There is nothing controversial about the Mail’s acquisition of this video, a copy of which the police already had in their possession,” a statement reads.
“It was obtained against stiff competition from French and international media outlets and provided a vital perspective on a massive global news story.
“The publication of the video – one of many that emerged in the aftermath of the events in Paris – on MailOnline and still in the paper was demonstrably in the public interest.”