France: Controversial humorist could be fined EUR 30 000 for Facebook post
The French Public Prosecutor is seeking a fine of EUR 30 000 against the controversial humorist Dieudonné, who testified in court today on charges of allegedly glorifying terrorism. The defendant feels he is innocent of the charges; the prosecutor could have sought a multiple-year prison sentence against him as well.
French news servers have reported that the court will rule on the case in the coming days. "You know, this evening, as far as I am concerned, I feel like I am Charlie Coulibaly," Dieudonné posted to Facebook on 10 January, referencing the "Je suis Charlie" slogan used by people in France and worldwide to express solidarity with the editors of Charlie Hebdo magazine.
On 7 January the magazine's offices became the target of a bloody attack by two armed men who killed 12 people, including the Editor-in-Chief and several caricaturists. Dieudonné then added the surname of a third assassin, Amedy Coulibaly, to the slogan after Coulibaly killed four Jewish people in a kosher shop in Paris two days later in a separate attack.
Today Dieudonné assured the court that he has always unequivocally condemned the assassinations that took place at the start of January in Paris. He ascribed his controversial Facebook post to his profession as a comedian and satirist.
The defendant also criticized some officials for treating him as some sort of terrorist, which in his view was unfair. The Public Prosecutor could have sought up to seven years in prison and a fine of EUR 100 000 against Dieudonné under France's anti-terrorism laws.
That level of punishment, according to the website of the French daily Le Parisien, could be brought against the defendant should he fail to pay the EUR 30 000 fine, which most probably will be levied against him because he is a recidivist. The humorist, whose full name is Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, is the son of a Cameroonian man and a Frenchwoman, and he used to actively speak out against racism earlier in his career.
In later years, however, he began to associate with representatives of the ultra-right and performed in one-man shows that featured material attacking Jewish people. He has faced several lawsuits and been convicted six times of manifesting hatred toward Jews.
In 2006 Dieudonné was fined EUR 4 500 for calling a Jewish television moderator "a secret donor to the child-murdering Israeli Army". In 2008 he had to pay EUR 7 000 for calling a Holocaust memorial event "commemorative pornography".
The French courts have also banned several of his shows. Last year he was also charged with tax fraud.
- Commentary: France is going crazy with the fight against terrorism - what next?
- France: 42 % oppose publishing caricatures of Mohammed
- More than 50 physical and verbal attacks committed against Muslims in France
- Can Europe maintain hope of a free, open society? Nous sommes Charlie!
- France: Madonna puts swastika on Marine Le Pen's forehead in concert video
- France grapples with the causes and consequences of extremist murder spree
- Gunman responsible for murder spree in France is dead
- France: Shooter murders three children and a teacher in front of Jewish school
- Czech commercial television station broadcast racist jokes on Christmas, broadcast council warns they broke the law
- Czech President's nominee for ombudsman says he would not deal with discrimination against Roma if chosen because that's what the courts are for
- EU Fundamental Rights Agency to publish results of research with Roma and Travellers in six EU Member States
- Czech court again acquits youths accused of assaulting man because of his skin color, prosecutor may appeal
- For a third time, Slovak court acquits police of brutalizing Romani children a decade ago, prosecutor appealing
- Czech trial begins of brutal, allegedly racially-motivated assault by non-Romani adults on Romani children
- Ciprian Necula on 30 years of freedom: Roma are not demanding their rights, that's why people are ignoring us
- European Roma are sharing an online hoax from 2002 about poisonous cosmetic samples
- French court convicts six arsonists of attack on Romani people
- UK court sentences neo-Nazis for threats against Prince Harry because of his marriage to Meghan Markle
- † 17. 5. 1998, Orlová, Czech Republic: Milan Lacko
- Czech town refuses to settle out of court with Roma whom they forcibly relocated 13 years ago