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French naturist faces jail for naked hike

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French naturist faces jail for naked hike
Nudists at a naturist reserve in France. Photo: Boris Horvat/AFP
09:02 CEST+02:00
A French naturist appeared in court on Monday accused of indecent exposure after he bumped into a mother and child during a naked hike. If found guilty the teacher could face a year behind bars. Furious naturists are demanding a change in the law.

The 51-year-old teacher appeared, fully clothed, at the criminal court in Périguex, in the Dordogne on Monday where he defended his right to hike without clothes.

The accused said his nude trek through the woods of La Roche-Chalais back in February was simply so he could be in “harmony with nature”.

"Practicing naked hiking gives me a form of well-being and it allows me to recharge my batteries, to take a break from the everyday life," the accused told the court.

He said he could “never imagine” that his act could be interpreted as indecent exposure and his lawyer Tewfik Bouzenoune told the court that on spotting the mother and child he launched himself into the bushes to hide and ended up with scratches all over his body.

However his bare bottomed stroll was not appreciated by one shocked woman who spotted the naked teacher as she was walking with her son.

The woman noted down the registration number of the man’s car and immediately called the police, who tracked him down and sent him to court, this time with his clothes on.

If found guilty of indecent exposure he could face up to one year in prison and a €15,000 fine. More worrying for the accused is that his name would be added to the sex offenders list.

He has pleaded with the judge that he is spared this fate, claiming his job would be on the line.

His lawyer Bouzenoune, however, has asked for the case to be sent to a higher court, which would have the power to better define indecent exposure, to avoid more naturists being hauled before the law.

That call was backed by naturists themselves, around 20 or so of whom turned up outside the court in Périgueux to support the teacher and demand access to more naturist areas.

The court’s decision will be delivered later in the year.

This is not the first time a naturist in France has walked into a spot of bother with the law. In May The Local reported how an Irish nudist had to beg forgiveness after wandering into a priory and sending pulses racing among a group of nuns.

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