Antoine Deltour announced today (5 April) that he will appeal the decision of the Luxembourg Court of Appeal from 15 March, before the Court of Cassation. Deltour was acquitted for disclosing ‘professional secrets’ and was recognised as a whistleblower; nevertheless, the court upheld the criminal conviction.
Deltour regards the arguments used against him as questionable. One of the arguments made by the prosecution is that he could not demonstrate that the documents were taken with the intention to whistleblow.
Secondly, Deltour says he cannot accept how the facts of the case were distorted or misrepresented. In some instances changing the meaning of what he said on its head.
Thirdly and most seriously in Deltour’s mind is the fact that the conviction not only contradicts the European Court of Human Rights jurisprudence but it also leads, paradoxically, to a reduction of whistleblowers’ protection: “it requires [whistleblowers], when removing documents with general interest information, to necessarily have in mind a deliberate, premeditated strategy. Otherwise they would not be protected. This prevents citizens from blowing the whistle only after reflection or as in my case a hesitation, concerning how to whistleblow.”
Deltour says that he does not consider the decision to correspond to the features of a fair decision: “I would not be consistent if I would not go for appeal, as permitted by the law. I consider that European law is fully on my side. Moreover, despite the length of the procedure that is underway and the uncertainty on its outcome, a victory could reinforce the still young and fragile whistleblower status. So I decided, surrounded by many supporters and citizens, that this judicial struggle deserves to be conducted.”
In his actions Deltour has received the congratulations from his support committee who congratulate him on his courage and consistency. Deltour has the backing of more than 500 organizations and personalities, as well as thousands of citizens who have expressed their support directly to Antoine and the campaign.
Deltour’s decision comes almost a year after the Panama Papers revelations. The campaign group supporting Antoine state: “The question at stake is to clarify the legal situation of people, in Luxembourg or elsewhere, currently in possession of pieces of information of general interest due to their professional position. Some people probably hesitate to go for it, even if their conscience pushes them to do so. These people should be able to perform their citizens’ duty without having to be legally worried.”