Seven French prison officers were hurt when an Islamist convict attacked them as he resisted a search, while guards resumed a strike Tuesday demanding better security in jails nationwide. The latest assault, which took place in a prison in southwestern France on Monday, came just four days after a German Al-Qaeda convict attacked and hurt three prison guards in the north of the country.
Monday’s attack at the Mont-de-Marsan prison occurred when nine officers attempted to restrain and search the convict, who lunged at them and punched them. “Three officers suffered fractures, while four others have multiple bruises,” CGT union representative Ludovic Motheron said.
The justice ministry, which put the number of wounded at five, said the inmate, known for being “very violent”, was under surveillance “because he was radicalized in prison”. The assault came after Thursday’s attack by German convict Christian Ganczarski, who is serving an 18-year sentence over the 2002 bombing of a Tunisian synagogue.
Armed with scissors and a razor blade, Ganczarski injured three guards after learning he might face extradition to the United States in connection with investigations into the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. That incident, at the Vendin-le-Vieil prison in northern France, prompted strikes by officers around the country Monday and Tuesday, demanding better security.
“We don’t have the training to handle radicalized detainees. So our colleagues are very upset,” Guillaume Pottier of the UFAP-UNSA union said. Officers resumed strike actions Tuesday despite the resignation of the Vendin-le-Vieil prison governor, and a pledge by President Emmanuel Macron to present an overhaul of the prison system by the end of February.
Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux called Tuesday for “dialogue” with the striking officers. “I understand the anger that is being expressed,” he told French television channel CNews. “The issue, first of all, is to decrease the pressure on prisons, which is largely linked to the fact that you have too many detainees in some cells,” he said.