French far-right presidential candidate Eric Zemmour was fined 10,000 euros (just over C$14,000) in Paris on Monday for inciting hatred over his comments about isolated underage immigrants.
In the absence of a trial, as during the trial in November, this usual due process was tried before the Assize Court for describing unaccompanied minor migrants as “thieves”, “murderers” and “rapists” on television.
The person who came fourth in the first round of the presidential election in recent polls (about 13%) criticized this “ideological and stupid” condemnation.
His lawyer, Olivier Bardot, announced that he would appeal the ruling.
“First because we won the appeal for the most part,” Bardot justified, and then because the Paris Criminal Court “distorted the prosecution” by considering Mr. Zemmour’s remarks “affected immigrants when they targeted unaccompanied minor immigrants.”
Already convicted twice
The controversial outings of Eric Zemmour, 63, over the past 10 years have earned him fifteen lawsuits for racial insult, inciting hatred or challenging crimes against humanity.
He was released several times and twice sentenced to inciting hatred.
He was prosecuted this time due to statements he made on September 29, 2020, during a discussion about the program face the news, on CNews, after an attack on the former building of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
“They have no business here, they are thieves, they are murderers, rapists, that’s it, they must be brought back and they must not come,” he emphasized – regarding unaccompanied minor immigrants.
“Degrading and outrageous statements” showing a “violent disapproval” and “hatred” of the immigrant population that crossed the “limits of freedom of expression,” a representative of the Attorney General’s Office estimated at the hearing in November.
“Not an iota of racism in Eric Zemmour,” Lee Bardot replied, “who only says ‘reality’, sometimes ‘brutally in his own words’, evoking a ‘political stance’.”
He demanded his release, arguing that the incitement to racial hatred was not cited because “unaccompanied minors are neither a race, nor a nation, nor an ethnic group.”
The court also sentenced CNews’ publishing director, who was tried along with Eric Zemmour as is usual in press trials, to a fine of 3,000 euros.
Thirty associations joined as civil parties, including the SOS Racisme, the League for Human Rights (LDH) and Licra (International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism), as well as about twenty administrative boards – unaccompanied minors receiving care from Social Assistance for Childhood, administered by departments.
Aryeh Alimi, a lawyer for the Human Rights League, greeted the press with an “important” decision. He declared that “behind this media project is a political project, it is a project of hate, a project that tends to stigmatize people because of their origin, because of their recognition, because of their race.”
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