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France

French court drops ‘hate speech’ case against Bob Dylan

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-15

A court in Paris has dismissed a case brought against American singer Bob Dylan on charges of inciting hatred following an interview in which he allegedly compared Croats with Nazis.

In the 2012 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Dylan was quoted as saying, "If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood."

His comments, which were in response to a question about race relations in the United States, outraged some of his Croatian fans, leading the Council of Croats in France (CRICCF) to lodge an official complaint.

A judicial investigation into the incident was opened in November, the same month Dylan was awarded France’s highest honour, the Légion d’honneur.

The case was dismissed Tuesday on the grounds that Dylan, 72, had not given his consent for his remarks to be published in the French-language edition of Rolling Stone.

Instead, the judge presiding over the case ordered the director of the magazine’s French edition to stand trial over the charges.

If convicted, Dylan would have faced a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of up to 45,000 euros ($62,000).

Ethnic Croats and Serbs were involved in bitter fighting following the breakup of Yugoslavia during the 1991-1995 war, which claimed the lives of an estimated 20,000 people.

Nazi-related topics are also highly sensitive in Croatia, where the pro-Nazi Ustasha regime killed hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascist Croatians during World War II.

Since Croatia declared independence in 1991, some groups have attempted to rehabilitate aspects of the Ustasha regime.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2014-04-15

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