A French court convicted 11 people for harassing a teenager’s anti-Islamic video online. Cases that sparked heated debates about freedom of speech And the right to insult religion.
The prosecution was part of a judicial counterattack against trolling and online abuse after the girl named Mila had to transfer school due to death threats and received police protection.
The Paris court tried 13 people between the ages of 18 and 30 from various regions of France. Accused of harassing Mira, According to her lawyer, she received more than 100,000 abusive messages, including death threats.
Eleven people were sentenced to probation-which means they would not serve their sentences in prison unless they were convicted for other crimes-some of them were ordered to pay 1,500 euros (£1,280) in damages and 1,000 euros in legal fees.
“Social networks are like streets,” Chief Judge Michael Humbert said in his verdict on Wednesday. “When you pass someone on the street, you don’t insult, laugh or threaten them. What you don’t do on the street, you don’t do it on social media.”
One of the interrogators wrote that Mira should “cut your throat” while others threatened to commit sexual assault.
Since she ranted against Islam in 2020, this previously unknown female student has become a public figure in the secession of the country. France – Viewed by supporters as a brave fighter for freedom of speech, by critics as deliberately provocative and Islamophobic.
18-year-old Milla told reporters outside the stadium: “We won-we will win again.” “I hope we never make victims feel guilty again.”
The case has received widespread public attention because it involves fiercely debated issues-from online harassment to blasphemy rights, and attitudes towards religious minorities.
In the first viral video posted on Instagram in January 2020, Milla, a 16-year-old publicly lesbian at the time, responded to a boy’s physical abuse by saying that the boy insulted her “in the name of Allah”. Sexual orientation.
She launched a swearing rant, declaring that “Islam is shit…your religion is shit” and other clear comments about Allah are considered highly offensive to Muslims. In November of the same year, she published a second such post.
France’s strict hate speech law criminalizes inciting hatred against a certain group based on religion or race, but it does not prevent people from criticizing or insulting religious beliefs.
In a wide range of political and media comments, President Emmanuel Macron defended her, stating that “the law is clear. We have the right to blaspheme, criticize and satirize religion“.
These arguments are reminiscent of the French debate on the comics of the Prophet Muhammad, which were published many times in satirical magazines. Charlie Hebdo In the name of freedom of speech.
Charlie Hebdo was attacked by Islamic militants in 2014, resulting in the death of some of its most famous staff in an attack that shocked France.
Last October, a teacher called Samuel Patty beheaded On the street, he faced an online hate movement after showing cartoons to students in a class on freedom of speech.
In the Mila case, most of the defendants had no previous criminal records and came from various backgrounds. Some people said they didn’t even think about it before sending what they thought was an anonymous insult.
A 21-year-old language student was called Lauren G. She said that she was “tired of seeing her (Mira) name in my news feed”.
One of her co-convicts, 19-year-old Axel G, said that his reaction was anger because he believed Mira’s remarks about Islam were “racist” and “blasphemous”.