STRATFORD man Tom Ciotkowski who was charged with contempt and assault after he recorded a French police officer reportedly pushing another volunteer has been acquitted by a French court.
Responding to the decision of a French court to acquit Tom Ciotkowski, a British man who documented police abuse against migrants, refugees and volunteers in Calais, Nicolas Krameyer, Amnesty International France’s Programme Manager, said:
“Today’s decision, delivered on World Refugee Day, is not only a victory for justice but also for common sense. Tom Ciotkowski is a compassionate young volunteer who did nothing wrong and was dragged through the courts on trumped up charges.
“Whilst it is a relief that Tom’s ordeal is now over, he should not have been charged in the first place. Tom’s case is sadly emblematic of the harassment, intimidation and attacks that human rights defenders are facing at the hands of police in Calais for supporting migrants and refugees. His case also reflects a wider European trend of criminalising acts of solidarity, as a way of discouraging others from standing up for human rights.
“Videos shown at trial demonstrated without a shadow of doubt that Tom did nothing wrong and that the actions of the police should be promptly and thoroughly investigated.”
Tom Ciotkowski said:
“I am extremely relieved and thankful that the judge has come to the right decision and my innocence has been proven. But I must say that I remain so very disappointed that I was put in this situation through false allegations in the first place and saddened that my family was put through such an ordeal.”