SHARE
COPY LINK

CRIME

French far-right candidate Zemmour convicted of hate speech again

A French court on Monday found far-right presidential hopeful Eric Zemmour guilty of racist hate speech for a tirade against unaccompanied child migrants.

Eric Zemmour on the campaign trail in France
Eric Zemmour on the campaign trail. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

Zemmour drew widespread outrange in September 2020 when he told the CNews channel that child migrants were “thieves, killers, they’re rapists. That’s all they are. We should send them back”.

Zemmour, a media pundit who is struggling to assemble the endorsements from elected officials he needs to compete in April’s presidential vote, did not show up in court to hear the verdict, having already skipped his trial in November.

The court fined him €10,000, which can be paid in installments. He could be jailed if he fails to pay the sum.

Zemmour’s lawyer, Olivier Pardo, said he would appeal the verdict.

The case was “nothing other than another attempt to intimidate me”, Zemmour said last year, adding that “they won’t shut me up”.

The journalist and author has two previous convictions for hate speech and has been investigated 16 times in total over incendiary remarks on immigration and Islam.

OPINION: Zemmour wont worry Macron, but he should worry France

In 2011, he was fined €10,000 for claiming on TV that “most drug dealers are black and Arab”. In 2018, he was ordered to pay €3,000 for comments about a Muslim “invasion” of France.

His dramatic entrance into front-line politics after a career spent in the media sent waves through the French ruling class in September, making him briefly the most talked-about challenger to President Emmanuel Macron.

Since then, however, ratings have slumped and he has admitted that he is struggling to get the necessary 500 endorsements from local politicians in order to be officially placed on the ballot paper.

READ ALSO Why French village mayors could sink Zemmour’s presidential bid

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

POLICE

French pensioner pushed out of 17th-floor window ‘may have been victim of anti-Semitic attack’

An 89-year-old man who was pushed out of his 17th-storey window by a neighbour may have been killed because he was Jewish, a prosecutor said on Friday, after several shocking anti-Semitic murders in France in recent years.

French pensioner pushed out of 17th-floor window 'may have been victim of anti-Semitic attack'

The victim’s body was found at the foot of his building in Lyon, southeast France, on May 17th and the 51-year-old neighbour was arrested. But investigators did not initially charge him with a racist crime.

Last Sunday, the BNVCA anti-Semitism watchdog group said it would seek to be a plaintiff in the case, citing its similarity with the 2017 murder of Sarah Halimi, a 65-year-old thrown from her window in a case that sparked national outcry.

“After social media postings were provided to us, the prosector’s office has asked judges to consider the aggravating circumstance of an act committed because of the victim’s ethnicity, nationality, race or religion,” Lyon prosecutor Nicolas Jacquet told AFP.

He did not provide examples of the posts, but Gilles-William Goldnadel, a lawyer and commentator for CNews television, said on Wednesday on Twitter that the suspect had called out Goldnabel in messages, including one that told him to “remember your origins.”

“It’s no longer a question of telling us it’s the act of a mentally disturbed person. The truth of anti-Semitism must no longer be hidden,” Goldnadel wrote.

France has grappled with a sharp rise in violence targeting its roughly 500,000 Jews, the largest community in Europe, in addition to jihadist attacks in recent years.

The murder of Halimi drew particular outrage after the killer, who had shouted “Allahu akbar” (“God is greatest” in Arabic), avoided trial because a judge determined he was under the influence of drugs and not criminally responsible.

That prompted President Emmanuel Macron to seek a law change to ensure people face responsibility for violent crimes while under the influence of drugs, which was adopted in December 2021.

In 2018, 85-year-old Mireille Knoll was brutally stabbed in an attack by two men said to have been looking for “hidden treasures” in her Paris apartment.

SHOW COMMENTS