The Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal has ruled. On Tuesday February 23, migrant rights activist Cédric Herrou was sentenced to a suspended fine of 2,000 euros for public insult against Les Républicains (LR) MP Eric Ciotti, the activist’s lawyer said.
In 2018, in the midst of a diplomatic crisis in Europe, following Italy’s refusal to welcome the humanitarian ship L’Coma with 630 migrants on board, Ciotti expressed understanding for the Italian position, calling on CNews to return boats to Libya to rescue migrants.
Cédric Herrou then reacted by posting a tweet – since deleted – on June 12, 2018: “I found the biggest French pig that welcomes all the misery in the world !! @ECiotti world champion !!! “ The next day, the militant farmer from the La Roya valley posted on his account: “When @ECiotti said in 2018 ‘let’s put the migrants in Libya’ he would say in 1940 let’s put them in the gas chambers. “
After a complaint with the constitution of civil party filed by the boss of the Republicans in the Alpes-Maritimes for public insult and defamation against a citizen in charge of a public mandate, Cédric Herrou was released on July 8, 2020 by the criminal court of Grasse des two prosecution counts.
Referring to the remarks denounced by the elected official as insulting, the court considered that this exchange was part of the political criticism between “A person particularly committed to helping migrants” and “An important political figure in the French political landscape”. The judges noted that “If this criticism was expressed in the form of a pun – port and pork – of doubtful taste, it is undoubtedly of a political nature ”.
The Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal only reversed the Grasse judgment for injury and confirmed the release of Cédric Herrou for defamation. “It is regrettable that the court of appeal did not have the wisdom of the trial judges, who had acquitted Mr. Herrou for the two tweets”, said his lawyer, Me Sabrina Goldman. “Cédric Herrou had reacted to a much more serious and perfectly unworthy provocation on the part of Eric Ciotti”, she added. Tuesday evening, his client reacted in a new tweet, asserting: “I owe € 3,500 to Ciotti… I thought that the money of an Islamogauchist smuggler of migrants did not interest him, but for him money has no smell. I appeal to cassation, the battle is not over. “
In a brief statement, MP LR spoke “Congratulated on this decision” and announced in a tweet that he will donate to the support fund for the valleys of the Alpes-Maritimes the damages and interest which were allocated to him by the court.