Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Coverage of the third plane crash in one week - from France, Algeria and Burkina Faso

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Coverage of the plane crash that took 116 lives - almost half of them French

Read more

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

  • Live: ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

  • Air Algérie crash: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

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

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European 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

France

Sarkozy ally gets slapdown from prime minister

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-12-15

Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux, who has made waves for a crackdown on Gypsies and is appealing a conviction for a racist slur, is under fire from the prime minister for criticising the “disproportionate” sentencing of seven police officers.

He’s French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s right-hand man – and some think he may be a bit too much to the right.

But this week Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux, the president’s oldest and most faithful ally, got a firm slapping down from the prime minister for questioning a magistrate’s verdict on seven convicted police officers.
 
Hortefeux, himself appealing against a court conviction for making a racial slur, openly criticised a judgement that has exposed a bitter relationship between the police and the judiciary in France.
 
Last Friday, seven officers were jailed for between six months and a year for falsely accusing a motorist of driving his car into theirs.
 
In solidarity with their convicted colleagues, some 200 police officers surrounded the court with their vehicles’ blue lights flashing their displeasure at the sentences.
 
‘Disproportionate’ sentences
 
“From the point of view of the police, these sentences can legitimately be seen as disproportionate,” Hortefeux said, repeating Sunday that he stood by what he said.
 
His comments were slammed by the opposition Socialist Party, whose Bruno Le Roux said Hortefeux was “singularly lacking in the spirit of the Republic”.
 
But the most telling rebuke came from Prime Minister Francois Fillon.
 
The actions of the accused officers were “totally unjustifiable,” he said, adding that the “honour of the police force relies entirely on exemplary behaviour in all regards.”
 
He added: “It is unacceptable that magistrates and the police should allow their emotions to give rise to conflict.
 
“The only people benefiting from all this are the criminals.”
 
Anti-immigrant policies
 
Brice Hortefeux, a personal friend of Sarkozy’s for more than 30 years, is one of the French government's more vocal right-wingers.
 
As immigration minister he increased the number of illegal immigrants expelled from the country and is in favour of toughening the rules for granting political asylum in France.
 
As interior minister, and therefore responsible for law and order in France, Hortefeux was at the forefront of this year's crackdown on illegal Roma (Gypsy) camps and the voluntary repatriation of travellers to Romania and Bulgaria.
 
The policy, seen as an attempt by the ruling UMP party to win voters away from the far-right National Front, was widely condemned internationally, while the government maintained a vigorous defence of its actions.
 
In June Hortefeux was convicted of making a racial slur at a political rally, at which he was captured on film commenting on taking the stage with a man of Arabic origin.
 
“When there's one, that's OK,” he was heard saying. “It's when there are several that it becomes problematic.”
 
Hortefeux has appealed against the judgement.

 

Date created : 2010-12-15

  • FRANCE

    Interior minister fined for racial remark amid calls for resignation

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    EU to launch legal action against France over Roma

    Read more

COMMENT(S)