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Complaint soldier was told to quit

Female trainee had been secretly filmed in the showers, court told

DAYS after defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian ordered an investigation into sexism in the French military, a court suspended a female trainee’s resignation after she complained about being filmed naked in barracks showers.

The 25-year-old woman, who was in an officer trainee programme at Fontenay-le-Comte, Vendée, filed a complaint in November that she had been secretly filmed by a sergeant.

She claimed that she was pressured to resign rather than take the case to a tribunal.

In papers submitted to the court, she said that she was “asked to apply for the termination of her contract”, in a manner that made her believe she would run the risk of being considered a deserter if she refused.

She said: “It seems that it was I who was guilty of something. They started by asking me to resign but I made it clear to them that I wanted to stay.”

A month later, the court in Nantes heard, she was summoned to a meeting with the colonel, who told her that, for the welfare of her fellow trainees and superiors, her future in the army ‘was over’.

In February, the woman lodged a complaint with the administrative court in Nantes, calling for the termination of her contract with the army to be suspended.

Her lawyer Jacques Delacharlerie said: “She should have been protected. And she was told, ‘It’s you who are leaving’.”

The investigation was ordered by Mr Le Drian on the same day as the publication of an explosive book La guerre invisible, which recounts 40 examples of sexist practices in the French military.

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