A French lawmaker who published a post on social media earlier this year where he said that “immigration kills the youth of France” appeared in a criminal court earlier this week for those words, highlighting the restrictions on freedom of expression in the country.
Senator Stéphane Ravier—a former Rassemblement National (RN) politician who last year joined Eric Zemmour’s Reconquête—on Thursday, March 9th, appeared before the criminal court of Marseilles, facing—for the social media post alone—charges of incitement to discrimination, hatred, or violence, the newspaper La Provence reports.
The case dates back to January 11th of 2022, when Ravier, in the wake of news about the murder of a teenage boy from Paris at the hands of a 62-year-old Senegalese national, wrote: “Theo, 18-years-old, was murdered yesterday by a Senegalese [migrant]… Immigration kills the youth of France.” The lawmaker’s words came alongside a photo of what appears to be the victim at his workplace.
In response to the lawmaker’s comments, a complaint was filed by two “anti-hate” organizations, the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (Licra) and the League for Human Rights (LDH), alleging that Ravier’s speech had worked to spread hatred toward migrants.
Additionally, Alain Lothe, who is a civil party in the case, alleges that via the publishing of his post to social media, “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.”
This is not the first time that Ravier’s speech has landed him in legal trouble. In May 2021, the Marseille criminal court slapped the then-RN parliamentarian with a €1,500 fine after convicting him of a “sexist public insult” against the then-deputy mayor of Marseille Samia Ghali of the Socialist Party (PS).