French vegan handed suspended sentence for pro-terror Facebook post | News | DW | 30.03.2018
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French vegan handed suspended sentence for pro-terror Facebook post

A second person this week has been given a suspended prison term for condoning terrorism in France. With the country still mourning the victims of an attack last week, the vegan's Facebook post triggered indignation.

The woman, named as "Myriam" by local media, was handed a seven-month suspended prison term for condoning terrorism under France's anti-terror security laws in the southwestern town of Saint-Gaudens on Thursday. 

She had written on Facebook on Monday that "justice" had been served when a butcher was killed during an Islamist attack last week.

The vegan — who lives in Saint Gaudens, a village near the town of Trebes where the attack by an Islamic extremist occurred — wrote about the killing of butcher Christian Medves at a Super U supermarket.

"So then, you are shocked that a murderer is killed by a terrorist," wrote the animal rights activist. "Not me. I've got zero compassion for him, there's justice in it."

New security laws taking effect

The court applied France's stringent anti-terror security laws, under which anyone suspected of commenting favorably on terrorism can be charged. Doing so online carries a maximum jail term of seven years and a fine of up to €100,000 ($125,000), local prosecutor Cecile Deprade told the French news agency AFP.

Police noticed the Facebook message by the vegan cheesemaker on Monday night. 

La Depeche du Midi newspaper reported that "Myriam" said she had deleted her comment within two hours and thought it had been visible only to her friends.

Moroccan-born Radouane Lakdim killed four people during his attack, three in the supermarket, including Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame and Medves. Lakdim was shot dead by police.

"I can understand that you can love and defend animals, but not to the point where you hate humans," Franck Alberti, a lawyer close to the butcher's family, was quoted as saying by Le Parisien newspaper.

The French Butchers' Confederation called the post "dreadful" and urged respect for Medves, a 50-year-old father of two. It said it had also filed the legal complaint against the author of the post.

Second sentence in a week

Stephane Poussier, a left-wing activist who stood for parliament last June, was handed a one-year suspended jail term on Tuesday over comments he posted on Twitter over the same attack.

Poussier had welcomed the death of Beltrame, a police colonel who exchanged himself for a hostage but was then killed.

President Emmanuel Macron led tributes on Wednesday at a national commemoration for Beltrame.

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jbh/bw (AFP, Reuters)

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