France Presidential candidate Eric Zemmour has been fined the sum of 10,000 Euros for comments on unaccompanied minors whom he described as “thieves, murderers and rapists”.
According to the report by AFP, the Paris Criminal Court issued its decision on Monday concerning the polemicist and presidential candidate, tried last November for his remarks on unaccompanied minors.
The court fined him to a fine of 10,000 euros, in accordance with the requisitions, for complicity in provoking racial hatred and racist insults. CNews publishing director Jean-Christophe Thiery was also fined 3,000 euros.
“A judgment has just been rendered but justice has not yet been passed,” reacted Me Olivier Pardo, Eric Zemmour’s lawyer, indicating that his client was going to appeal this conviction.
Eric Zemmour, in a press release, described the judgment as “ideological and stupid”. “It is the condemnation of a free spirit by a judicial system invaded by ideologues”, writes the candidate who says he wants to put “an end to this system which every day tightens the tourniquet a little more on freedom of expression and the democratic debate”.
On September 29, 2020, Eric Zemmour took part in a debate on CNews on unaccompanied minors after an attack in front of the former Charlie Hebdo premises . He then declares: “They have no business here, they are thieves, they are murderers, they are rapists, that’s all they are, they must be sent back and they must not even come .”
Several anti-racism associations had instituted civil proceedings, as well as around twenty departmental councils the departments being in charge of Childhood Social Assistance which accompanies these unaccompanied minors.
Eric Zemmour, who has since declared himself a presidential candidate, did not appear at the hearing held on November 17. His defence had argued that the polemicist did not want the court to turn into a television studio.
For the prosecutor, the remarks made by Eric Zemmour were not “an accident of language”. The magistrate felt that more broadly, the polemicist was targeting the immigrant population and was using, according to her, “the mechanisms of hatred”.
Eric Zemmour works by “generalizations, a classic process of racism”, she added, wishing “to insist” on the danger of “trivializing the discourse of a common enemy”. She demanded a fine of 10,000 euros.
On the side of the civil parties, this condemnation resonates as a victory for democracy, according to them. “Behind this media project, there is a political project, hammers Me Arié Alimi, who represents the League of Human Rights. It is a project of hatred, which tends to stigmatize people because of their origin, their denomination, their race.”
“It’s an important decision because they have to understand that we won’t let it go, there are human rights defenders, there are anti-racists, there are people who defend reason and the Enlightenment, and they must understand that we will stand up against this political project which aims to destroy the entire heritage of the French Revolution and the Enlightenment, continues the lawyer. We will stand up against this project of hatred.
On the form, as on the bottom, the defence of Eric Zemmour had swept the arguments against him. Eric Zemmour “is trying to develop a thesis”, had replied in his pleading the lawyer for the polemicist. “His thesis is that there should be no immigration”, it is a political position”, then insisted Me Prado, who considered that his client only said “reality”.
From a legal point of view, the defense of Eric Zemmour considered that the summons to appear for “complicity in provoking racial hatred” did not hold. For the lawyer, unaccompanied minors are neither a race, nor a nation, nor an ethnic group and his client could not therefore respond to this count. A position that he hammered out of the courtroom on Monday, believing that this conviction is not “solidly argued legally”.
“The fate reserved for him, the speed with which these hearings come and above all the distortion to try to fit his words into a framework is part of a kind of transformation and is not everyone’s diet”, concluded Mr Pardo.