Jean-Paul Delescaut, the boss of the CGT du Nord, sentenced for “apology of terrorism” | EUROtoday

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“Ua historic decision which, I hope, will be the first of a long series. So Me Anthony Reisberg, lawyer for French Jewish Youth, at the origin of the complaint filed against Jean-Paul Delescaut, secretary general of the Departmental Union of the CGT du Nord, welcomed this Thursday, April 18 , the latter's sentence to one year of suspended imprisonment for “apology of terrorism”.

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The legal courtroom of Lille (North), which didn’t settle for the qualification of “provocation to racial hatred”, dominated that the commerce union group had crossed the bounds of freedom of expression by writing in a leaflet of “ support for the Palestinians”, six days after the lethal assaults perpetrated in Israel by Hamas on October 7: “The horrors of the illegal occupation have accumulated. Since Saturday, they have received the responses they provoked. »

The same sentence as that handed down was requested by the prosecution at the hearing on March 28. A rally in support of the defendant was organized that day outside the courthouse; an online petition had still circulated in its favor, signed in particular by Sophie Binet, general secretary of the CGT, the president of LFI Jean-Luc Mélenchon and several deputies of this movement, or even the general secretary of the French Communist Party, Fabien Roussel .

Around fifty complaints targeting different personalities, parties and movements

For the complainant association, supported by a collective of fifty lawyers from all the bars of France, these remarks “clearly constituted the offense of advocating terrorism”, punishable by a maximum of seven years of imprisonment and a fine of 75 000 euros, when they are relayed on the Internet, which was the case in this case.

“Support for the Palestinian people and criticism of the policies pursued by the Israeli Prime Minister are perfectly admissible in a democracy. What is not is to legitimize, by assimilating it to an act of resistance, an action which led to the massacre of more than a thousand civilians, men, women and children, with the aim of reigning terror and committing horrors, reacts Me Reisberg. Unfortunately, as we have seen in this affair, those who claim to be anti-Zionists have great difficulty hiding their support for terrorist movements aimed at the destruction of the State of Israel, as advocated by the Hamas Charter. »

The French Jewish Youth movement, in support of which Mr. Reisberg pleaded, filed around fifty complaints in total, targeting different personalities, parties and movements such as the NPA, the “Palestine will overcome” collective, the Jewish Union for Peace or the Party of Natives of the Republic. Other trials may observe that of Jean-Paul Delescaut.

“Equal consideration” for victims and terrorists

Article 421-2-5 of the Penal Code punishes the act of “directly provoking acts of terrorism or advocating these acts”; the textual content doesn’t exactly outline the apology, however case regulation has clarified its contours. The Court of Cassation thus considers that there’s an apology when an individual demonstrates “equal consideration for the victims and the perpetrators” – of an assault on this case.

In its choice rendered in 2002 in opposition to General Aussaresses, who had defended torture in a guide, the Paris Criminal Court supplied the next clarifications: “An apology is a speech which presents a crime in such a way that the The reader is encouraged to make a favorable value judgment on him, erasing the moral disapproval which, by law, attaches to him. “The desire to justify is the element of the criminal qualification of apology”, writes in his Practice of press regulation (ed. Dalloz) lawyer Christophe Bigot.

The nice legal lawyer André Vitu sheds gentle, in his Treatise on particular legal regulation (Cujas, 1982), this legally advanced notion: “While the provocation tends to obtain the commission of a criminal act [un meurtre, un suicide, des violences…],L'apology [du terrorisme, des crimes contre l’humanité, des viols et des atteintes à la vie…] acts only indirectly, sowing in the public the seeds of a serious deterioration of the moral or civic sense, or disturbing the minds.”

Did the CGT, in its leaflet, contribute to “disturbing minds”? Yes, replied the Lille courtroom, whose judgment, which has not but been printed, can be scrutinized by specialists in press and communication regulation.

The departmental secretary of the CGT has ten days to enchantment.