French Politician Faces Criminal Trial for Immigration Criticism

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here and here). The latest such case is a criminal trial of French Senator Stéphane Ravier for stating that “immigration kills the youth of France.” It is another example of why free speech is in a virtual free fall in Europe.

Ravier faces trial tomorrow in the criminal court of Marseilles on charges of incitement to discrimination, hatred, or violence. The case is based on a tweet, on January 11, 2022, in which Ravier reacted to the murder of a teen in Paris by a 62-year-old man from Senegal. He tweeted “Theo, 18 years old, murdered yesterday by a Senegalese [migrant]… Immigration kills the youth of France.”

A complaint was filed by the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (Licra) and the League for Human Rights (LDH) against Ravier over allegations of spreading hatred toward migrants.

Alain Lothe also alleged that by publishing his tweet “the elected official is not content to react to a news event but wants to highlight the nationality of its author and to involve all people from immigrant backgrounds.”

It is another example of criminalizing political speech. Just last year, Ravier was convicted for another comment made against a female socialist senator that was deemed to be sexist and given a fine of 1,500 euros.

France has been a leader in the rollback on free speech in the West with ever widening laws curtailing free speech. These laws criminalize speech under vague standards referring to “inciting” or “intimidating” others based on race or religion. For example, fashion designer John Galliano has been found guilty in a French court on charges of making anti-Semitic comments against at least three people in a Paris bar. At his sentencing, Judge Anne Marie Sauteraud read out a list of the bad words used by Galliano to Geraldine Bloch and Philippe Virgitti. “He said ‘dirty whore’ at least a thousand times,” she explained out loud.

In another case, the father of French conservative presidential candidate Marine Le Pen was fined because he had called people from the Roma minority “smelly.” A French mother was prosecuted because her son went to school with a shirt reading “I am a bomb.”

A French teenager was charged for criticizing Islam as a “religion of hate.”

I wrote earlier about the prosecution of famous actress Brigitte Bardot for saying in 2006 that Muslims were ruining France in a letter to then-Interior Minister (and later President) Nicolas Sarkozy. Bardot, an animal rights activist, has been repeatedly hit with such criminal complaints for criticizing different groups. She was later fined for calling the the inhabitants of La Reunion “savages” for their continued sacrificing of animals in religious rituals.

In this case, a politician is speaking about a matter of national importance. One can certainly object and rebut such views or heated rhetoric. The solution to bad speech is better speech. Free speech is its own disinfectant.

Instead of engaging in such debates, however, various individuals and groups now seek to silence their opponents by criminalizing speech. France has led this anti-speech movement. The sad irony of France leading efforts to curb free speech is powerful. Once the bastion of liberty, France has now become one of the greatest international threats to free speech.

15 thoughts on “French Politician Faces Criminal Trial for Immigration Criticism”

  1. Speaking of borders, the Daily Mail has a story today about fentanyl smuggling:
    “San Diego Border Patrol have arrested three drug smugglers for attempting to sneak in $3 million worth of fentanyl from Mexico, which is enough to kill 50 million Americans.
    On February 27, San Diego Border Patrol seized 232 pounds of fentanyl during a traffic stop in San Clemente, California, located roughly 75 miles from the US-Mexico border. . . .
    On February 2, San Diego Border Patrol seized $4million of the dangerous drug. On February 15, agents in Yuma, Arizona, discovered 93 pounds from a single smuggler. The day before in Nogales, Arizona, agents found 24 pounds of fentanyl from a group of smugglers.
    US Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said the agency has seen a 300 percent increase in fentanyl seizures compared to last year. In 2020, Border Patrol found 4,800 pounds of the deadly drug, which bumped up to nearly 15,000 pounds in 2022.
    So far, 12,500 pounds of fentanyl have been seized since last October, according to Fox News.
    . . .
    Drug overdoses have skyrocketed in the US, as the cheap synthetic opioid – which is more powerful than heroin – is killing more than 1,000 Americans a week. Overdoses jumped 22 percent between 2020 and 2021 and continue to rise.
    . . .
    Fentanyl typically originates in China before making its way to the US border, usually via the US-Mexico border. . . .
    However, former DEA Chief of Foreign Operations, Matthew Donahue, told CNN: ‘Mexico is intentionally making these drugs, knowing it’s killing Americans and still shipping them up there without putting anyone in jail, without seizing any properties, or going after their drug assets.’
    Donahue said the US does not ‘get any information from [Mexico], you don’t get any cooperation from them.’
    ‘You can take a life for probably five cents,’ Donahue said of the ‘dirt cheap’ drug. ‘What’s a human life worth now?'”
    So, we are letting the Chinese and Mexicans kill Americans at a cost of $.05 each, And the Biden Aministration and most Democrats want to keep the border open.

    1. “It’s the [Constitution], stupid!”

      – James Carville

      The problem is not substances, it’s your attempt to deny the natural and God-given right to ingest substances. No law against the ingestion of substances is constitutional, per the 9th Amendment. What you need to focus on are acts that are illegal such as operation of a vehicle under the influence, bodily injury and property damage. If substance ingestion were understood to be constitutional and legal, there would be industry standards that prevent abuse and warn users.

      9th Amendment

      The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

  2. Globalization is Communism.

    Communism is Globalization.

    Communism is to bear false witness.

    Communism is to covet.

    Communism is to steal.

    Communism is bearing false witness claiming someone else is to blame, to covet what others possess, and to steal “From each according to his ability,….”

    Crossing a border illegally is not immigration, it is invasion, a violation of natural and God-given manners, etiquette, protocols, ethics, morals, statutes and national and international law, and an act of war, both kinetic and economic.

  3. There is a lot to say about all the gibberish from the progressive left and its woke’ish denizens and their desires for control of societal behavior. On any given day, there are examples of them trampling on freedoms to conform to their Utopian Paradise, without a thought of consequences. This is most concerning, a freedom taken here or there leads to an abyss with an unknown outcome.

    John Locke “The Second Treatise on Civil Government” Chapter III “Of the State of War”, #17,

    ” And hence it is that he who attempts to get another man into his absolute power does thereby put himself into a state of war with him; it being to be understood as a declaration of a design upon his life. For I have reason to conclude that he who would get me into his power without my consent would use me as he pleased when he had got me there, and destroy me too when he had a fancy to it; for nobody can desire to have me in his absolute power unless it be to compel me by force to that which is against the right of my freedom-i.e., make me a slave. To be free from such force is the only security of my preservation, and reason bids me look on him as an enemy to my preservation who would take away that freedom which is the fence to it; so that he who makes an attempt to enslave me thereby puts himself into a state of war with me. He that in the state of Nature would take away the freedom that belongs to anyone in the state must necessarily be supposed to have a design to take away everything else, that freedom being the foundation of all the rest, as he that in the state of society would take away the freedom belonging to those of that society or commonwealth must be supposed to design to take away from them everything else, and so be looked on as in a state of war.”

  4. Wait for it…. If the National Socialist Democrat WOKE Part could they would.

    What separates us from the rest of the world is the 2nd Amendment. NEVER surrender your guns!

  5. I can believe the FTC wrote it and they’re serious. This is Obama. Biden is simply a Catspaw for Obama. Obama the puppeteer. All his planted tentacles in the US government need to be rooted out and destroyed. Thats why Trump is insufficient as a presidential candidate. Granted he was hindered by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell 2017-2021 but he is too superficial and that showed throughout his presidency. No true follow through. Sen. Cruz kept telling him to submit the Paris Accords and the Iran Deal to the Senate because by withdrawing his signature only and not voting down the 2 agreements allowed Biden to re-involve us in them. This occurred all through his administration. He had rare appointments that actually were effective and he shows no real evidence that he has learned that. The Obama poison needs an antidote not a palliative.
    As far as Western Europe is concerned they have always played only lip service to real economic and political freedom. You really cannot have one without the other.
    The French have had these laws that impact free speech for decades and the others have been gravitating in that direction for some time. The European Union is the epitome of this syndrome and they make no bones about not being democratic. The Common Market twisted itself into every sort of pretzel in an attempt to have a federation that was not like the US (when they created the European Union) because they wanted the freedom to wreak their havoc without consulting the unwashed masses below. Interesting that the Eastern Europe republics pay more heed to their people now than the western ones.

  6. The ability to express yourself in public has expanded exponentially since 2000. People who would never have had the public’s ear before that are free to comment, emote, flame, bloviate, or simply virtue signal.

    People who doodled through English class, and punted on writing assignments, can type unpunctuated, unprepared, undisciplined and ill-informed ramblings that leave me thinking I might have just suffered a stroke.

    Freedom without order leads to mendacity, hedonism, anarchy, lawlessness and overcorrection in the form of rigid autocracy.

    Every civilization of humans going back to caveman days has had to uphold norms of thought and communication in order to survive. We live in an extremely individualistic, non-conformist society, where norms are trammeled on to gain advantage. Institutions that uphold norms are seriously weakened in that capacity — a good example are public schools — where misanthropic teens terrorize the faculty and fellow students — and the exercise of authority to deter of outlandish aggression has been systematically dismantled. This is why so many kids now view public schools as unsafe, and have become poor environments for learning.

    JT cannot accept that the pendulum is swinging back in the direction of normative behavior, and placing limits on anti-social postings, outbursts and publicity stunts.

    The task of defending free speech (that is civil, honest and constructively intended) means figuring out a way to assess the trustworthiness, believability and good-intentions) of various voices, but open to divergent thinking (inventiveness). Those that met these criteria are elevated into the public infospace, and those who don’t are ignored until they can begin to meet the standards to be paid attention to.

    BTW, ignoring untrustworthy utterances does not rise to the conventional meaning of censorship.

    And, judging by the hedonistic garbage teens are exposed to by TikTok algorithms, I’d say we’ve allowed standards to be decimated — at our future peril.

    Maximizing free speech a matter of balancing tradeoffs….finding a sweet spot. It’s not about arguing for one absolute to the detriment of competing virtues.

    1. Well yeah except the highly educated and responsible people in the government and the media have been the most mendacious and destructive of all, far more than the s**t-posters and ungrammatical people who are irritating but do no real damage.

  7. More evidence of the complete downfall of Western Civilization. What will come next to the entire world? Maybe China takes over the planet and kills several billion people to satiate . Maybe Jesus returns and takes believers away and The Great Tribulation occurs.

  8. The pattern is clear — it’s not about hate speech (whatever that really is), it’s about silencing anyone opposed to the agenda of the globalists. Immigration is a high priority on the globalist checklist because it provides cheap labor, keeps wages non-competitive, and creates just enough social chaos to keep the masses preoccupied while the rich get richer. Liberals put a moral veneer on everything they do to cover the stink of their rotten policies. But, as the saying goes, you can’t put lipstick on a pig.

    1. The term “hate speech” itself is melodrama. How many people actually “hate” the individual or group they’re critiquing? If I say I don’t approve of gay marriage, for example, that’s all I’m saying. That I don’t approve of it. Beyond that, I don’t particularly care. But I would be accused of hate and terrorism and Nazism and every other overblown motive imaginable by child-like liberals.

  9. The first and last question on this sort of criminalization is “What are you hoping to accomplish?” If a government official espouses heated rhetoric with which you disagree, disagree with them publicly. Tarnish their name. Any time they say something on this subject, say, “Aren’t you the guy who said …” If those who seek prosecution are hoping to convince the other side, I fail to see how this would be constructive or productive. If I shared the view of those seeking prosecution, I would tell my peers that this might even prove counterproductive, as the other side might make this man a martyr for their cause.

  10. Unfortunately, you could white out Marseilles and type in Washington D.C. and not skip a beat. The woke left’s effort to criminalize speech they don’t agree with advances their total censorship agenda perfectly. Just claim that the offending speech is inciting violence or something and you can get people arrested. Thank you, Jonathan, for keeping this important issue in the public square.

    1. Right on queue (or is it cue??):

      >WASHINGTON—The Federal Trade Commission has demanded Twitter Inc. turn over internal communications related to owner Elon Musk, as well as detailed information about layoffs—citing concerns that staff reductions could compromise the company’s ability to protect users, documents viewed by the Wall Street Journal show.

      >In 12 letters sent to Twitter and its lawyers since Mr. Musk’s Oct. 27 takeover, the FTC also asked the company to “identify all journalists” granted access to company records and to provide information about the launch of the revamped Twitter Blue subscription service, the documents show.

      >The FTC is also seeking to depose Mr. Musk in connection with the probe.

      >“We are concerned these staff reductions impact Twitter’s ability to protect consumers’ information,” an FTC official wrote to Twitter’s lawyers on Nov. 10 following an initial wave of layoffs, according to a copy of the letter viewed by the Journal.

      I cannot believe I even read that, let alone that someone in my government thought it a good idea and that someone else agreed with them and they are doing this.

      Hipster Anti-trust, now that twitter is in enemy hands…

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