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CRIME

Insulting a mayor to become a criminal offence, French Justice Minister says

Any insult targeted at a French mayor will now be treated as contempt - an offence that carries a maximum penalty of community service or a €7,500 fine - France's justice minister has announced.

Insulting a mayor to become a criminal offence, French Justice Minister says
French Minister of Justice, Eric Dupond-Moretti leaving the Elysée. Photo: AFP

“Any attack perpetuated against a mayor is an attack perpetuated against the Republic”, warned French Minister of Justice Eric Dupond-Moretti on Wednesday after a ministerial meeting to which local mayor associations were invited, according to BFMTV.

As France is facing increasing violent behaviour targeted towards its elected representatives, he announced that insulting a mayor would now be treated as an offence of contempt, whereas before it was qualified as an “insult”.

The offence of contempt carries a maximum penalty of community service of up to 280 hours or a maximum fine of €7,500 under French law.

The Minister said he will put the idea to the public prosecutor’s department because “a mayor who is insulted is a mayor who, in legal terms, is abused”.

Local councillors have previously criticised the French justice system for being to slow when it came to them being assaulted.

Eric Dupont-Moretti promised that from now on there will be “a systematic, immediate and proportionate answer” to any aggression.

According to the latest numbers published by l’Association des maires de France, at least 233 mayors were attacked from January to July 2020. They were 383 in 2019 and 361 in 2018. 

Mayors are hugely important within the French political system, they have wide-ranging powers and represent a wide range of communities, from small villages to jobs with a multi-million euro annual budget such as the Mayor of Paris. 

READ ALSO Why village mayors are so important in France

Meanwhile the mairie of Lhéraule (a small town in Picardie in northern France) made good manners compulsory in 2012 and you can be removed from the premises if you don’t greet staff politely with a bonjour or if you don’t say “please” during your exchange. Read the full story here

 

Member comments

  1. Hmmm…seems to be an attempt to avert criticism…how does the Republic improve if bad behaviour and poor performance cannot be pointed out, commented on?

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CRIME

French police bust cross-Channel people-smuggling ring

French police have busted a major people-smuggling ring that has been sending migrants to Britain in dinghies, with more than a dozen boats and 700 life jackets seized in a raid, French authorities said Thursday.

French police bust cross-Channel people-smuggling ring

The ring was run by Iraqi Kurdish migrants and had a logistics hub in Lille, a northern French city about 100 kilmetres (60 miles) from the northern Channel beaches around Calais that are used for crossings.

Three Iraqi men have been charged, along with three French suspects after their arrest on Monday.

Police discovered “a real factory supplying nautical equipment” in Lille, the head of French anti-migration agency Ocriest, Xavier Delrieu, told AFP.

In what was their biggest ever seizure of equipment, they found 13 inflatable boats, 14 outboard engines, 700 life jackets, 100 pumps and 700 litres of fuel, Delrieu said.

The group is suspected of having organised 80 Channel crossings over the summer, of which 50 succeeded, with the smugglers netting around €80,000 for each one.

The arrests came due to intelligence-sharing between authorities in Belgium, Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, who are all trying to crack down on migrants crossing the Channel by boat.

The original tip-off came after a border guard control discovered a group of French youths carrying inflatables from Germany into the Netherlands.

More migrants have crossed the Channel to the UK from northern France so far this year than in the whole of 2021.

So far this year, more than 30,000 people have been detected crossing the Channel to the UK, fresh government figures showed Thursday. On Wednesday alone, the authorities detected another 667 people.

Britain’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, has faced some criticism from other Conservatives and in right-wing media outlets for not pressing for more French action against the crossings when she met President Emmanuel Macron in New York on Tuesday.

Downing Street said the issue did not come up at their talks on the margins of the UN General Assembly, which instead focused on common ground including Ukraine and energy security.

The crossings are among a host of issues that have badly strained Franco-British relations in recent years.

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