France’s ex health minister Agnes Buzyn charged over COVID policies
Agnes Buzyn, the former French health minister, has been placed under formal investigation on Friday for her handling of the policies regarding Covid-19 outbreak last year, after investigators at a special court in Paris decided there was enough evidence to charge her.
Buzyn has been charged with “endangering the lives of others,” according to the Republic’s Court of Justice prosecutor, but not with a second possible offence of “failure to stop a disaster”.
The former doctor, who will be able to appeal the verdict, appeared in court on Friday, saying she was looking forward to “an excellent opportunity for me to explain myself and to establish the truth.”
She said she would not “let the action of the government be discredited, or my action as a minister, when we did so much to prepare our country for a global health crisis that is still ongoing.”
The decision is a setback for President Emmanuel Macron, whose handling of the health-care crisis will be scrutinised during next year’s election campaign, but the court may also face accusations of judicial overreach.
The case is one of the first in the world in which a senior government official has been held legally responsible for the mishandling of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Buzyn, who served as health minister from May 2017 to February 2020, was forced to resign in February 2020, weeks after the first Covid cases in France were confirmed, under pressure from Macron to replace Benjamin Griveaux, the LREM party’s candidate for mayor of Paris who was forced to withdraw following a sex scandal.
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