Monday, 9 May 2011
Ernesto Rojas Abbate, the Frenchman who was arrested after burning a Koran, urinating on it and broadcasting a video of the proceedings on the internet has been freed by a French court. The Central Mosque of Strasbourg had brought proceedings against him for incitement to racial hatred, despite the fact that Islam isn't a race. Its lawyer said the verdict was a great disappointment. The punishment requested for the defendant had been a fine of 1000 euros and a prison sentence of three months, suspended.

In their verdict, the judges made clear they believed that, in making the video, the defendant had been attempting to parody the terrorists responsible for September 11th. Amusingly, they said that this exonerated him from incitement to hatred charges because September 11th had nothing to do with Islam!

In the video, the defendant made a paper plane out of pages of the Koran, flew it into some glasses which were supposed to represent the World Trade Centre, set the Koran on fire then urinated on it to extinguish the flames. The whole thing was broadcast via webcam.

A spokesman for LICRA, the International League Against Racism and Anti-semitism, called the verdict "deplorable". An appeal may be lodged.


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