Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • France says missing Algerian plane 'probably crashed'

    Read more

  • 51 French nationals aboard missing Algerian plane

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets with Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy

    Read more

  • Algerian jet vanishes: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

France

Interior Minister Hortefeux in court for allegedly racist remarks

Text by Priscille LAFITTE

Latest update : 2010-04-16

A French anti-racist organisation has accused Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux of “public defamation of a racist nature,” for remarks he made at last year’s summer conference of the ruling UMP party. His trial starts Friday.

French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux created an enormous stir last September when he was caught on film saying what would become an oft-quoted phrase: “When there’s one, that’s fine. It’s when there are a lot of them that there are problems” (a video snapshot of which is caught in our photograph above). At the time he was attending the ruling UMP party’s summer conference in the town of Seignosse on the southwest coast of France.

The French anti-racist organisation Movement against Racism and for the Amity between Peoples (French acronym: Mrap) brought him to court for “public defamation of a racist nature,” and the trial starts Friday at the Paris correctional court.
Exactly who or what Hortefeux’s remark was referring to remains a matter of controversy, but since he made the statement while posing for a photo with Amine Brouch-Benalia, a young UMP supporter of Algerian descent, many concluded he was referring to North Africans.

Hortefeux faces up to a year in prison and 45,000 euros in fines if he is found guilty. Mrap lawyer Pierre Mairat said in an interview with the French news publication the Nouvel Observateur in September that the Hortefeux case was, “uniquely about a symbolic condemnation.” The lawyer is expected to make the case to the court that it should consider “circonstances aggravantes” – in other words, that Hortefeux’s governmental position makes him subject to even sterner judgment. Hortefeux himself is not expected to attend, and he did not call upon other parties to give testimony in his defence. The judgment is expected in several weeks.

He meant Auvergnats, not Muslims

The incident in question was captured by a camera crew of the state-owned political television network, LCP, which covers parliamentary events. It was LeMonde.fr, the web site companion to the French daily, that first aired the video on September 10, 2010. The public outcry that ensued was instant, and Hortefeux found himself having to give an explanation.

He has maintained that his remark made “no reference to any ethnicity, be it North African, Arab, African, or otherwise.” In fact, he said he was referring to inhabitants of the French department of the Auvergne – since the young UMP supporter was from that region.

Speaking before the Muslim Council on September 14 of last year, he expressed his “regrets,” although adding that the whole “controversy” was “useless and unjust.”

Since September, Hortefeux’s actions and subsequent attempts to clear his name have become fodder for countless parodies. One web side, “Bricetoutpuissant,” (Brice Almighty), has gone so far as to make a kind of online game of filling in the blank: “When there is one ___ , that’s fine. It’s when there are a lot of them that there are problems.” Readers are invited to type in suggestions as to how to complete the sentence, eg “When there is one Pope who protects paedophiles, that’s fine…”

Date created : 2010-04-16

  • FRANCE

    Activists call for large-scale boycott to support immigrants

    Read more

COMMENT(S)