Skip to main content

POLITICS: Meanwhile in France teenagers are sentenced for free speech

There is still no international reaction to the effects of last year's Loi Cazeneuve, which targets those who 'make apology of terrorism'. This beggars belief, given the overwhelming international reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings, where government representatives and media outlets worldwide claimed the right to free speech.

Le Parisien reported on another instance of this law being used to sentence a teenager in an article last week. A 19 year-old college student from Montbeliard is sentenced to 3 months conditional bail with restrictions on his movements in and out of the country, for online threats to the Israeli consul and a French deputy abroad. He also posted comments praising the actions of ISIS on Facebook.

Not only did this school student express remorse for his posts online, but his defence lawyer provided ample evidence he was under the effects of an illness which "severely impeded his hearing" and "almost killed him last year".

Is this truly the best use of time in French courts? While these laws allow completely disproportionate prison sentences to be handed out to teenagers, France still has radical blasphemy laws which prevent anyone from querying WW2 history as it affects Jewish culture.

All this plays into the hands of islamists, who chalk up each one of these arrests and sentences to Western oppression of Muslim youths for the crime of expressing radical views online. While I agree with the adage that "tolerance of intolerance" is both damaging and naive (see my last post on the UK response to the 7/7 commemorations), these cack-handed measures cannot be the solution.

France has slipped right into the Islamist trap of conflating religious hate crime with nasty speech. Civil society has and will suffer from these abuses of government powers.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

COMMENT: Rivoli Riding - why a Carpentras cinema has me needing therapy

"I don't know how to feel about this, whether to love it or hate it. I just don't know". And in one breath, a petite, gleeful Dutch lady smashes the quiet discomfort of a room full of viewers, mulling over the contradictions of the film. Chloe Zhao's The Rider is a semi-documentary-part-fiction, favourite of 2017 Cannes film festival, and swept up awards in Deauville, Toronto and more. The hubbub begins as the Carpentras anglophiles sit around a cluster of café-parisien-style tables on which glasses of Cotes-du-rhône red wine, bowls of snacks and steaming slices of (homemade) pizza are magically appearing, like a tiny, stylish Hogwarts school of arthouse cinema wizardry.

"But the photography..."
"And that actor, playing himself! How did he even..."
"Well, the director got a standing ovation. She's Chinese."
"Remind me, Laura, I need to give you a book"
"Did he play himself?"
"The horses... How do you say 'd…

BARNET HUMANISTS Episode 1: Free Lunch?

Barnet Humanists!
Weekly secular lens on news, reviews and interviews of kids and grown ups on ethics and politics, books and flicks, and whatever makes us tic.
Host David (a Humanist Dad in North London) interviews kids - the Mini-Humanists - each week with a topic to get them thinking critically. I believe that by discussing the big questions, kids are better equipped to deal with an increasingly secular world, so if you're a Humanist parent or just interested in how to foster good critical thinking, this show is for you.
Some episodes will feature a me-rant, others an interview (if I can get Skype working). Others still will review a book I find relevant to current Humanist topics.

https://soundcloud.com/barnethumanist/episode-1-free-lunch


This week's show.

 The me-rant: I walk through a London park, yammering about politics, being a Humanist Dad, the Manchester attacks and other topics that cross my brain The Mini-Humanists chat about school dinners
Tweets are welcome @Barn…

Episode 9 - Satanism: the devil's harlot

This week's show is an interview with Leopold Pan, spokesperson from the London Satanic Temple.
What is Satanism?TenetsAtheist activism vs satanist religionChildren's rightsSacrifices?Political activism and plans

Reason is the Devil's harlot, who can do nought but slander and harm whatever God says and does.
German: Vernunft … ist die höchste Hur, die der Teufel hat …
— Martin Luther, Last Sermon in Wittenberg, Second Sunday in Epiphany, 17 January 1546. Sources: Dr. Martin Luthers Werke: Kritische Gesamtausgabe, (Weimar: Herman Boehlaus Nachfolger, 1914), Band 51:126, Line 7ff; Martin Luther (1483-1546). The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.; H. L. Mencken, Treatise on the Gods, p.  244; Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great, p. 73.