Eric Zemmour at the convention of the right, September 28, 2019. -
CORET PHOTOS / SIPA
Polemicist Eric Zemmour was sentenced this Friday to a 10,000 euros fine for insult and incitement to hatred after a violent diatribe on Islam and immigration in September 2019 during a political rally in Paris.
The Paris court condemned the 62-year-old columnist for comments made on September 28, 2019, at the opening of a meeting called the “right-wing convention” and organized by relatives of the former member of the National Front (now RN ) Marion Maréchal.
Remarks recognized as "offensive"
The court considered "that by distinguishing among the French all Muslims opposed to" native French "and by designating them, as well as Muslim immigrants living in France, not only as criminals perpetrators of the 2015 attacks but as from former colonized people who have become colonizers ”, the words pursued“ constitute an exhortation, sometimes implicit and sometimes explicit, to discrimination and hatred towards the Muslim community and its religion ”.
"Opinions, even shocking ones, must be able to be expressed, nevertheless the alleged facts go further and exceed the limits of freedom of expression since they are abusive remarks towards a community and its religion", indicated the president of the 17th correctional chamber.
The court also underlined that the speech had been “prepared” and the words “chosen”, recalling that Eric Zemmour had been definitively condemned, a few days before the facts, to 3,000 euros of fine for anti-Muslim remarks, the Court of Cassation having dismissed his appeal.
In this case, he appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
A speech reported 3,600 times to the CSA
At the hearing on July 1, the prosecution requested a 10,000 euros fine, but with the possibility of imprisonment in the event of non-payment.
"I consider that the court did not make a fair application of the law and I plan to appeal", reacted to AFP his lawyer Olivier Pardo, assuring to have "won a number of cases, not before the court, but before the Court of Appeal or the Court of Cassation ”.
The polemicist was also ordered to pay 1 euro in damages as well as 1,500 euros for legal costs to 8 civil party associations - the League of Human Rights (LDH) and SOS Racisme in particular.
The speech had at the time been widely denounced in the political class and the Superior council of audio-visual (CSA) had received some 3,600 reports.
These comments had also led to a bitter debate in the media for which Eric Zemmour worked.
The LCI channel, which had broadcast all of the comments live, will not ultimately be judged in this case, the court having declared void on September 17 the citation of the Maison des Potes association, for a procedural matter.
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