1 Million ‘Likes’ for Burgled Nice Jeweller




An unprecedented one million French Facebook followers have ‘liked’ –shown support for — a Nice jeweller on bail on a manslaughter charge after a burglar who raided his business premises, was allegedly shot dead.

1 millionlikespic

More than 1 million likes on a Facebook page supporting the Nice jeweller facing manslaughter charges

The French Riviera has been hit by a wave of daring armed assaults by thieves who have gotten away with millions of euros in stolen jewellery since early summer, while Marseille has virtually been under siege for months as drug gangs mercilessly shoot and kill each other over unpaid debts and territorial disputes.

Stephan Turk the 67-year-old French jeweller was detained in custody on suspicion of murder for shooting dead a teenager who with gun toting accomplices raided his shop and then fled by scooter with the stolen loot.

Mr Turk owns “La Turquoise” a small jewellery store in the centre of Nice. According to N ice Matin he was was held up at gunpoint by two men wearing motorcycle helmets as he opened the shop on the morning of September 11.

According to a Le Monde report a Facebook page set up to support the detained jeweler has now, three days later, drawn an unprecedented (for a French Facebook page) 1 million likes from members of the public who clearly feel the victim is the owner defending his business rather than the youth who died.

Closed circuit video images showed Mr Turk had been punched and kicked before being forced to open his safe. One of the robbers filled a bag with jewels and the pair made off on a scooter, Nice prosecutor Eric Bedos told the AFP news agency which added that the dead youth, identified only as Anthony, had a string of convictions for theft, assault and driving offences. Among those backing the jeweller was Michel Unik, whose brother Thierry was killed in 2011 during a hold-up of the family jewellers in Cannes-la-Bocca, down the coast from Nice. French law provides for individuals to avoid murder charges if they are shown to have killed in self-defence. However, to invoke the principle of “legitimate defence” the person involved has to show that they had no other option, that they acted at the same time as the threat to them was real, and that their action was proportionate to the threat presented, AFP added.

The jewllery shop in Nice owned by Mr Turk

The jewellery shop in Nice owned by Mr Turk

Le Monde reported that a tweet by the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi (UMP),published the day of the incident, noted that “there are two victims, the jeweller and the villain”. A statement by the Front National spoke of “the exasperation of small traders”, denounced the Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira for being “lax” and criticised the “lack of action” by police and gendarmes.

Articles and links shared by those on the Facebook page are trenchant in their defence of the detained man — “I would not cry for a repeat offender”, “immediate release for the jeweller who deserves a medal”. There are also references to online petitions such as ” Support the Nice jeweller” and” Defending is not a crime”.

The three clips below offer accounts given by the jeweller’s son, Mr Turk himself who was remorseful about the death of the youth, and those of his lawyer.

What the defendant said:

And his lawyer added:

  • On July 29 a lone jewel thief who struck the lavish Carlton International Hotel in Cannes down the road from Nice, made off with $136 million in diamond-encrusted watches and gems, in one of the biggest jewel thefts in history.

Story: Ken Pottinger
editorial@french-news-online.com

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