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World: Hate speech trial of likely French far-right candidate opens

Hate crimes up 20 percent in Los Angeles area

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PARIS (AP) — A far-right TV pundit who is expected to run for the French presidency goes on trial Wednesday for allegedly inciting racial hatred with his comments on unaccompanied migrant children.

A woman walks past a poster of hard-right political talk-show star Eric Zemmour reading in French © Provided by Associated Press A woman walks past a poster of hard-right political talk-show star Eric Zemmour reading in French " Our Trump" in Biarritz, southwestern France, Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021. Provocative anti-immigration commentator Eric Zemmour is drawing national attention in France as he floats a possible presidential bid that could shake up the campaign for the April election. ( AP Photo/Bob Edme)

Eric Zemmour, who has two prior hate speech convictions, is being tried on charges of “public insult” and “incitement to hatred or violence” against a group of people due to their ethnic, national, racial or religious origin.

Hate crimes up 20 percent in Los Angeles area

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The essayist and commentator on former political talk shows is widely expected to soon announce his candidacy in France's April presidential election. Adopting an attitude like former former U.S. President Donald Trump's, Zemmour is finding fervent audiences for his anti-Islam, anti-immigration invective in the early stages of the race.

A man tears off posters showing hard-right political talk-show star Eric Zemmour in Biarritz, southwestern France, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. Provocative anti-immigration commentator Eric Zemmour is drawing national attention in France as he floats a possible presidential bid that could shake up the campaign for the April election.( AP Photo/Bob Edme) © Provided by Associated Press A man tears off posters showing hard-right political talk-show star Eric Zemmour in Biarritz, southwestern France, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. Provocative anti-immigration commentator Eric Zemmour is drawing national attention in France as he floats a possible presidential bid that could shake up the campaign for the April election.( AP Photo/Bob Edme)

Zemmour previously was convicted of incitement to racial hatred after justifying discrimination against Black and Arab people in 2010, and of incitement to religious hatred for anti-Islam comments in 2016. He was respectively sentenced to pays court costs and a 5,000-euro ($5,660) fine.

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The trial opening Wednesday focus on September 2020 comments he made on French news broadcaster CNews about children who migrate to France without parents or guardians. If found guilty, he faces a sentence of up to one year in prison and a 45,000-euro ($51,000) fine.

“They’re thieves, they’re murderers, they’re rapists, that’s all they are. We must send them back,” Zemmour said.

“These people cost us money and in addition, they are, most of them, criminals, thieves, et cetera, coming from Morocco, Pakistan and Chechenia,” he said.

Zemmour was not expected to attend Wednesday's court session, his lawyer said. The verdict is expected to be delivered at a later date.

Civil plaintiffs in the case include several local councils representing “departements," the administrative divisions in charge of handling child care.

“We refuse for these comments to be trivialized and to target foreign non-accompanied minors who come to seek protection in France, as well as all those who work to help them best,” the departmental council of Seine-Saint-Denis, north of Paris, said.

Anti-racism groups that filed a formal complaint, including SOS Racisme, the Human Rights League and the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism, also are participating as civil plaintiffs.

Hate Crimes Documented by Police Disproportionately List Black People as Attackers: Report .
"These commonly discussed perceptions that the perpetrators of anti-Asian hate are mainly Black or African American are not accurate," Marita Etcubañez said.Released Wednesday, the report is a comprehensive national review of hate crime laws that shows where laws variate. It also cited widespread flaws in data collection and reporting. Though the majority of hate crimes in the U.S. are committed by white people, motivated by racial or ethnic bias, the crimes disproportionately reported Black Americans as the attackers.

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