Far-right French Presidential Candidate Eric Zemmour Found Guilty of Racist Hate Speech

A French court on Jan. 17 found far-right French presidential candidate Eric Zemmour guilty of inciting racial hatred over comments he made about child migrants.

A court in Paris ordered Zemmour to pay €100 ($114) a day for 100 days or face going to jail after he called unaccompanied child migrants “thieves,” “rapists,” and “murders” during a television appearance.

“They have nothing to do here. They are thieves, they are murderers, they are rapists, that’s all they are. They must be sent back and they must not even come,” Zemmour told CNews channel in September 2020 when asked about a knife attack by a young, radicalized Pakistani immigrant.

Zemmour did not appear in court to hear the verdict.

Zemmour also skipped his trial in November, in which prosecutors argued that his comments were “contemptuous” and “outrageous.”

“The limits of freedom of expression have been crossed,” prosecutors told the court during the trial.

Zemmour’s lawyer Olivier Pardio said that he would appeal the verdict.

Responding to the verdict, Zemmour said in a statement that that the system “tightens the tourniquet on freedom of expression and democratic debate.”

“This system manufactures crime of opinion in an industrial way. There is an urgent need to drive ideology out of the courts,” Zemmour said.

Zemmour has two previous convictions for hate speech and authorities have investigated him about 16 times over his anti-Islam and anti-immigration remarks.

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