April 7, 2017 Last Updated 8:40 am

French news sites receive death threats, possibly tied to investigation into candidate

Reporters sans frontières issues statement of support for two French websites, Canard Enchaîné and Mediapart, which received threatening letters Thursday containing a bullet

The organization Reporters sans frontières has condemned death threats received by two French websites, Canard Enchaîné and Mediapart. Editors at the sites – one a satirical site, the other an investigative online publication – received a letter on Thursday which contained a bullet and was signed by a group called Epuration 2J.

“The threats against journalists of Mediapart and Canard Enchaîné (Enchanted Duck) are serious and must be taken very seriously,” said Christophe Deloire Secretary General of RSF. “These acts of intimidation are unacceptable in a democracy and occur in an atmosphere already contaminated by the toxic and dangerous statements made by politicians against journalists.”

Both websites have been writing about François Fillon, the prime minister who is the nominee of Les Républicains, the center-right party in France. Late last year Fillon was seen as the frontrunner for the Presidency, though expected to face a run-off with Marine Le Pen, of the National Front, the far right party.

But a series of scandals have set back his candidacy. In January, Canard Enchaîné accused Fillon of paying €500,000 over eight years to his wife in a phony employment scheme. The website continued that month to report more about the fictitious employment scheme, reporting that Fillon had paid two of his children €84,000 in a similar manner. The scandals have left his campaign reeling, with former investment banker Emmanuel Macron now seen as the frontrunner. Macron, a former member of the Socialist party, is running under the banner of En Marche!, a party just formed last April.

But Fillon has recently made threats against those who have exposed the scandal, saying “It has been difficult, it is true that I have slept badly in recent weeks, but those who are behind this case will not sleep well in the future.”

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