Roger Henri Auque (January 11, 1956 – September 8, 2014) was a French journalist, war correspondent, and diplomat, and Israeli spy. He served as France's Ambassador to Eritrea from 2009 to 2012.
Life and career
Auque was born in Roubaix, France, on January 11, 1956. His father was a Gaullist, while his mother (née Baudry) was a French Communist. Roger Auque identified with the French right and became a member of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).
Auque began his career as a freelance reporter in the late 1980s during the Lebanese Civil War. He worked closely with member of Lebanon's Phalange political party during the war. He also became friends with Uri Lubrani, the Israeli governor of coordinator of South Lebanon security belt from 1983 to 2000.
Auque was arrested by Hezbollah in January 1987 after being suspected of espionage activity on behalf of the Israelis. He was one of the first Western journalists and espionage agents to be held by Hezbollah during the war. Auque was held with another French journalist, Jean-Louis Normandin, of Antenne 2 TV (present-day France 2). In a 2014 interview with Le Parisien, Normadin recalled their captivity, "We met in the trunk of a car in Beirut, later we have been freed together, on the same evening… He was a charmer… always keep smiling… [with] sincerity, enthusiasm, energy." Auque became a devout Catholic after receiving a Bible from one of his captors. Both Auque and Normandin were freed in November 1987 following negotiations and financial payments from then French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac and Interior Minister Charles Pasqua.
Auque authored two books, including an autobiographical account of his captivity by Hezbollah. Ronen Bergman, an Israeli journalist, documented Auque's 1987 captivity in a chapter of his book, The Secret War With Iran: The 30-Year Clandestine Struggle Against the World’s Most Dangerous Terrorist Power, which was published in 2008.
Roger Auque was sent to Rome as a reporter for RTL following his release. He also covered stories in the Middle East, Africa, and Yugoslavia. He authored pieces on Israeli affairs for several French magazines, including Le Figaro Magazine, Paris Match, and VSD. He covered the Iraq War from Baghdad for Yediot Aharonot using the pen name, Pierre Baudry (Baudry is his mother's maiden name). He worked in Baghdad until 2006 when he returned to Beirut for two years.
In 2008, Auque returned to France to pursue politics and diplomacy. He was elected a Paris municipal councilor in 2008 as a member of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP). Auque served as the French Ambassador to Eritrea from 2009 to 2012. He became friends with the Israeli Ambassador to Eritrea, Guy Feldman, during his tenure.
Roger Auque died from brain cancer on September 8, 2014, at the age of 58. He had been treated at Val-de-Grâce military hospital during his illness. He revealed in a book published posthumously in 2015 that he had been a Mossad agent.
His daughter Maréchal-Le Pen was a member of the National Front party. She was born in 1989, to Yann le Penn, daughter of National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, and was raised within Yann's marriage to Samuel Maréchal, a fact only revealed publicly in 2013 in a book by Christine Clerc titled Les Conquérantes. In 2012, Maréchal-Le Pen was elected France's youngest MP ever. Marion Maréchal sued French weekly newsmagazine L'Express for a "serious invasion of her privacy," and won her case in April 2015.
- Zilberstein, Lior (2015-02-17). "The Israeli agent behind enemy lines". Ynetnews.com. Retrieved 2015-03-16.
- Stritch, Joseph (2014-09-10). "Obituary: Roger Auque, war correspondent, hostage, diplomat, adventurer". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2014-10-04.
- Ayad, Christophe (2014-09-11). "Roger Auque, journaliste et diplomate". Le Monde. Retrieved 2014-10-04.
- Winstanley, Asa (20 February 2015). "Spies posing as journalists endanger us all". Middle East Monitor. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
- Le Cain, Blandine (6 February 2015). "Les confidences posthumes de l'ex-otage au Liban Roger Auque". Le Figaro. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
- "L'identité du véritable père de Marion Maréchal-Le Pen dévoilée". Le Parisien.
- The next Le Pen: 25-year-old ‘true darling’, Politico, by Nicholas Vinocur, 20 Apr 2015