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Dieudonné cleared of spreading anti-Semitic video online

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-02-07

Controversial French humourist Dieudonné M'Bala M'Bala was acquitted Friday of posting and spreading an anti-Semitic video in 2010.

In the video in question, the comedian, known simply as Dieudonné, condemned the “powerful Jewish lobby” and called for the release of Youssouf Fofana, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for the kidnap, torture and murder of Jewish Parisian Ilan Halimi in 2006.

While the Paris court did not rule on the content of the video, it judged that Dieudonné, whose trademarked "quenelle" gesture has been likened to a downward Nazi salute, was not responsible for internet users posting the video on websites such as Youtube.

Prosecutors had asked for a fine of 20,000 euros to take into account 100 instances of the video being uploaded to video-sharing sites.

Dieudonné, who has been convicted of making anti-Semitic statements a number of times, owes the French state around 65,000 euros in unpaid fines.

Last month, he was banned from performing in several French cities on the grounds of maintaining public order as authorities probed whether he should face charges for breaking French laws against "inciting racial hatred" during his shows.

French President François Hollande publicly backed the ban on his performances.

Dieudonné, who is a household name in France, made international headlines after footballer Nicolas Anelka performed his quenelle during an English Premier League match in December.

Dieudonné, whose father is from Cameroon and whose mother is French Caucasian, says the quenelle gesture is merely an anti-establishment gesture.

Date created : 2014-02-07

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