Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'New York Post' slammed for publishing ISIS execution images

Read more

DEBATE

Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza conflict: 72-hour ceasefire deal sets stage for Cairo talks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

FOCUS

Spain's El Hierro to become world's first self-powered island

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

ENCORE!

Luc Besson back in action with Scarlett Johansson in 'Lucy'

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

  • US forces tried to rescue slain reporter from IS captors

    Read more

  • Thailand coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha voted prime minister

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • Deadly street battles hit Ukrainian rebel stronghold

    Read more

  • US attorney general visits Missouri town after fatal shooting

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Brazil’s Silva launches bid after Campos plane crash death

    Read more

  • Netanyahu compares Hamas to IS, Gaza offensive to continue

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • France’s ex-PM Juppé sets up presidential clash with Sarkozy

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande says global security ‘worst since 2001’

    Read more

  • France urges Iran, others in region, to join fight against IS

    Read more

  • A new view on Normandy landings, 70 years on

    Read more

  • Dozens killed as landslides strike Japan’s Hiroshima

    Read more

  • Suspected Ebola cases in Austria, new drug raises hopes

    Read more

France

Jail time for ex-National Front candidate over 'monkey' jibe

© Photo: François Nascimbeni/AFP | Election campaign posters showing Anne-Sophie Leclère (right) and FN leader Marine Le Pen (left)

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by Sam BALL

Latest update : 2014-07-16

A former local election candidate for France’s far-right National Front (FN) was sentenced to nine months in prison Tuesday for comparing the country’s black Justice Minister Christiane Taubira to a monkey - a ruling condemned by the party’s leaders.

Anne-Sophie Leclère, who was a candidate in the northern French town of Rethel in March’s municipal elections, posted a photomontage, since deleted, on her Facebook page last year showing a baby monkey next to an image of Taubira. The caption under the monkey's picture read “At 18 months”, while the caption under Taubira's photo was labelled “now”.

Questioned about the image during a documentary by the France 2 television channel broadcast in October, she claimed it was not intended to be racist but to show that Taubira was a “savage”.

“I’d prefer to see her swinging from a tree than in government,” she said, adding “I have friends who are black”.

Leclère’s Facebook post and subsequent comments led to her expulsion from the FN in December.

But on Tuesday a court in Cayenne, in France’s overseas department of French Guiana decided to punish her further, sentencing Leclère to nine months in prison, five years of ineligibility to run in elections and a 50,000 euro fine. It also handed the FN a fine of 30,000 euros.

The case came to court following a complaint filed in Cayenne by Walwari – a Guiana-based political party co-founded by Taubira. The sentence, which went beyond the demands of prosecutors who had asked for a four-month jail sentence and a 5,000-euro fine, was immediately condemned by leading National Front figures.

‘A political and partisan judgment’

The party’s vice-president Florian Philippot called it “grotesquely disproportionate”, while Jean-Marie Le Pen, the party’s founder and father of current leader Marine Le Pen, accused the court’s judges of being “traitors to the law and violators of morality”.

The FN claimed in a press release that the trial had been a “trap” and that it had been unable to find a lawyer in Cayenne to represent Leclère.

It also took issue with the president of Cayenne’s criminal court, Stéphane Rémy, due to his membership in a leftist trade union group – the Union of Magistrates. The union was involved in a controversy last year when it emerged it had in its offices a “Wall of Jerks” notice board lampooning numerous French right-wing figures – leading to accusations of political bias.

“We must vigorously denounce these incredible violations of our rule of law,” said the press release.

Taubira, who has been subject to numerous racial slurs in the past, refused to be drawn on the details of the case, saying only that the court had ruled “according to the penal code”.

“This verdict is simply a reminder of the punishment afforded by the penal code for offences like these,” she told reporters outside the France’s Council of Ministers in Paris.

Both the FN and Leclère have said they will appeal the court’s decision.

“It is totally disproportionate,” Leclère said of her sentence. “Criminals are convicted and sentenced to wear an electronic tag and I am given jail time,” she told the AFP news agency.

"I did not have racist intentions, I just received a photomontage on Facebook of which I am not the author. I'm not racist,” she continued. "It is an injustice. It is a political and partisan judgement," she added.

Date created : 2014-07-16

  • FRANCE

    French minister’s national anthem snub sparks resignation calls

    Read more

  • FRANCE - UN

    UN slams 'racist attacks' on French black politician

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Far-right leader says France is ‘least racist country’

    Read more

COMMENT(S)