French comedian sentenced over Hebdo comments

French comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala has received a suspended two-month prison sentence after being convicted of advocating terrorism for posting a reference to January's gun attacks in Paris on his official Facebook page.

French comedian sentenced over Hebdo comments

World Bulletin / News Desk 

French comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala had potentially faced up to seven years in prison and a €100,000 ($106,000) fine at the Paris Criminal Court on Wednesday, where his lawyer Sanjay Mirabeau had asked the judge to drop the charges, which he described as "unfounded".

Dieudonne, who had pleaded not guilty, wrote on Facebook days after the attacks on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in which 17 people died, that he "felt like Charlie Coulibaly".

The phrase referred to the "Je Suis Charlie" ("I am Charlie) slogan, which emerged as a rallying cry against extremism and restrictions on freedom of speech after the attacks, and the name of gunman Amedy Coulibaly who shot dead four people in the supermarket attack.

- 'Public enemy'

The comedian had also said on Facebook: "For a year, I have been treated like public enemy number one, while I seek to do nothing but make people laugh ... they consider me as an Amedy Coulibaly, when I’m not different from Charlie."

Dieudonne's comments were interpreted by many critics as being disrespectful towards the victims of the attacks.

Dieudonne said in testimony in court in February that he condemned the attack "without any restraint and without any ambiguity".

The prosecutor has requested the comedian fined €30,000 and face a 200-day prison sentence if he failed to pay.

Despite wide criticism, the comedian remains popular in France, where fans have posted on social media under the hashtag #JeSuisDieudo - "We are all Dieudonne" - to show their support for him during the trial.

- Racial slurs

He was previously fined €65,000 for anti-Semitic and racial slurs following performances in 2014.

He has insisted he is not anti-Semitic but he holds anti-Zionist and anti-establishment views.

Dieudonne, 48, is among hundreds of people who were arrested in France following the two gun attacks in January.

Paris-born and the son of a Cameroonian father and French mother, he began his comedy career with a Jewish sidekick in the early 1990s and appeared in several films.

Originally active with anti-racist left-wing groups, he began openly criticizing Jews and Israel in 2002 and ran in the European elections two years later with a pro-Palestinian party.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 18 Mart 2015, 17:49