Paris court to rule in far-right presidential contender case

A Paris court will deliver a verdict in a case involving far-right presidential candidate Eric Zemmour

Via AP news wire
Monday 17 January 2022 11:33 GMT

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


A Paris court will deliver a verdict Monday in a case involving far-right presidential candidate Eric Zemmour, who is charged with inciting racial hatred after comments he made on unaccompanied migrant children.

Zemmour, who has two prior hate speech convictions, went on trial in November on charges of “public insult” and “incitement to hatred or violence” against a group of people because of their ethnic, national, racial or religious origin. The prosecutor requested a 10,000-euro (more than $11,000) fine against him.

The former TV pundit, who is running in April's presidential election, is drawing fervent audiences with his anti-Islam, anti-immigration invective. He is considered being among the major challengers to centrist President Emmanuel Macron who is seen as the front-runner, according to polls. Macron has yet to confirm he will run for a second term.

Monday’s case focuses on September 2020 comments Zemmour made on French news broadcaster CNews about children who migrate to France without parents or guardians.

“They’re thieves, they’re murderers, they’re rapists. That’s all they are. We must send them back,” he said. “These people cost us money.”

Zemmour wasn't present at court for his trial. In a statement, he then denounced “an attempt to intimidate (him)” from prosecutors and anti-racist groups. He maintained his comments and said the political debate doesn’t take place in courts.

His lawyer argued in favor of nullifying the charges and suggested the trial is politically motivated.

Zemmour is also set to go on appeal trial on Thursday on a charge of contesting crimes against humanity — illegal in France — for arguing in a 2019 television debate that Marshal Philippe Petain, head of Vichy’s collaborationist government during World War II, saved France’s Jews from the Holocaust.

A court acquitted him last year, saying Zemmour’s comments negated Petain’s role in the extermination, but explained that he wasn't convicted because he had spoken in the heat of the moment.

Zemmour has repeated similar comments in recent months, and lawyers contesting his acquittal plan to cite that point as evidence in the appeal trial.

Zemmour previously was convicted of incitement to racial hatred after justifying discrimination against Black and Arab people in 2010, and of incitement to religious hatred for anti-Islam comments in 2016. He was sentenced to pay court costs and a 5,000-euro ($5,660) fine.

He has also been tried in other cases where he was acquitted.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in