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French presidential candidate calls migrant children 'thieves', 'rapists'

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
French presidential hopefule Eric Zemmour was fined €10,000 on Monday for hate speech. (Photo by AFP)

Far-right French presidential hopeful Eric Zemmour has been slapped with a €10,000 fine by a French court for provoking racial hatred against unaccompanied child migrants.  

Zemmour, known for his anti-immigration views, described unaccompanied migrant children as “thieves”, “rapists” and “murderers” on the CNews television channel.

"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,” the 63-year-old media pundit said.

In his trial, a representative of the public prosecutor's office said Zemmour’s comments were "contemptuous, outrageous" that showed "violent rejection" and "detestation" of the immigrant population and crossed "the limits of freedom of expression".

Zemmour skipped his November trial. The Paris Criminal Court fined him on Monday to a €100 per day for 100 days, €10,000 in total, with the possibility of imprisonment in case of non-payment.

He took to social media to denounce what he called “an ideological and stupid condemnation.”  

The far-right journalist has already been prosecuted 15 times for racial abuse, incitement to hatred and denial of a crime against humanity.

He was convicted two times for incitement to hatred and was sentenced to pay €10,000 in 2011 for citing hate speech on television.

Although posturing as the right-wing answer to the French presidency, it is not clear if he will be able to receive the 500 endorsements from elected officials around the country by mid-March in order to put his name on the ballot.  

For several weeks last year, polls suggested he was the second most popular candidate and had a chance to run off against current president Emmanuel Macron; however, polls have slipped since.

French citizens will go to polls in April to choose the future president.


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