Even if the length of the jail terms passed yesterday on Deltour and Halet, former employees of the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, were slightly less than those requested by the prosecutors, whistleblowers will see the sentences as an intimidatory signal.
Deltour was given a suspended sentence of 12 months in prison, while Halet got a suspended sentence of nine months. The court acquitted Edouard Perrin, the French journalist with the France Télévisions programme Cash Investigation who was the first to report what they had leaked.
“The information revealed by the LuxLeaks case was of vital importance and was clearly in the public interest,” said Pauline Adès-Mével, the head of RSF’s Europe desk. “This decision is disturbing because it penalizes those who wanted to serve this interest".
“The trade secrets directive adopted by the European Parliament on 14 April refers to article 11 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which upholds the ‘freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority.’ The directive also guarantees protection for whistleblowers who reveal ‘misconduct, wrongdoing or illegal activity.’ RSF regrets that the Luxembourg court did not follow its lead.”