The European Court of Human Rights has ruled against a French court that fined a man 30 euros in 2008 for mocking Nicolas Sarkozy, reviving one of the former president’s most memorable - and least flattering - moments.
Four words continue to haunt former French president Nicolas Sarkozy five years after he pronounced them: “Get lost, you sad prick!”
Sarkozy uttered the slur during the 2008 Paris agricultural fair in response to a man in the crowd who refused to shake his hand, claiming he didn’t want to be “soiled” by the then-head of state.
The crude exchange, which ends with Sarkozy saying in French, “casse-toi pauvre con”, was caught on video and widely circulated on the Internet.
Months later, left-wing activist Herve Eon, 61, was slapped with a 30-euro fine for displaying the much-publicised phrase on a poster he placed in front of Sarkozy’s presidential car.
But on Thursday, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Eon’s punishment was a violation of freedom of expression and “disproportionate” for what it termed simply a “satirical remark”.
The slur has remained one of the emblematic moments in the tenure of Sarkozy, whose oft-remarked lack of presidential decorum made him unpopular with many in France. The phrase boasts its own Wikipedia page in French and in Basque.
Sarkozy lost the 2012 presidential race after a single term in office.
The state, now under the rule of President François Hollande, has the right to appeal the ruling with ECHR's Grand Chamber.
Date created : 2013-03-14