Conviction stays against blogger attacking Aubry

A Paris appeal court has upheld a ruling against a Strasbourg blogger accused of spreading rumours about Socialist politician Martine Aubry.

Conviction stays against blogger attacking Aubry
Photo: Incorruptible

Francis Neri, a retiree, posted a text on his blog attributed to “Bertrand” in July 2011 that accused Aubry, former secretary general of the Socialist party, of being an alcoholic, homosexual and close to Islamic circles.

The court found that Neri was guilty of attacking Aubry’s private life but it dismissed an allegation of defamation pressed by Aubry, who is mayor of Lille, AFP reported.

In its judgment it ordered Neri to pay a symbolic euro to the politician for damages and interest.
The court found references in Neri’s blog to Aubry’s “problems with alcoholism” and the “three detoxification cures” she was accused of receiving did not amount to defamation.
Alcoholism “is essentially considered like an illness” and the article “nowhere describes public behaviour contrary to (Aubry’s) honour", the ruling concluded.

However, the reference to homosexuality amounted to an incursion into the politician’s private life, the court said.

“Sexual orientation raises by its nature the intimacy of private life,” the ruling said.

It noted that Aubrey, who ran as a candidate to represent the Socialists in the presidential election campaign, had publicly evoked these rumours “but only to denounce them as lies”. 

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