Insulting president no longer criminal offence in France

Jul 27, 2013, 07:39 IST | ANI

It is no longer a criminal offence to openly insult the French president, the country's parliament has agreed

The move comes after a centuries old law was scrapped by MPs in favour of freedom of speech.

According to Scotsman, until now, anyone who was rude to the head of state faced an automatic fine under 1881 legislation making it an offence to ‘offend the president’.

French President Francois Hollande
French President Francois Hollande. Pic/AFP

The change in the law comes after EU judges ruled in March that France had violated a protester’s right to freedom of expression.

The protestor was fined for waving a banner at former president Nicolas Sarkozy reading: “Get lost, you jerk” – “Casse-toi pov’con” in French.

According to the report, the slogan hit the headlines after Sarkozy infamously issued the same slur to a man at a farming trade fair, who had refused to shake his hand five years ago.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that demonstrator Herve Eon’s protest banner was a satirical reference to the incident and his conviction and 25 pounds fine were out of proportion to his protest, the report added. 

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