Four men and four women are on trial before the Criminal Court of Paris for posting anti-Semitic tweets against April Benayoum, first runner-up of Miss France 2021 beauty contest.
Suspended sentences of two months imprisonment were required last week against all eight defendants, aged between 20 and 58, tried before the criminal court of Paris for posting anti-Semitic tweets aimed at April Benayoum.
In December 2020, during the Miss France contest broadcast on television, Benayoum had explained that her taste for geography was perhaps due to her origins. Her mother is Serbo-Croatian, her father Israeli-Italian, This gave me a passion for geography and the discerning of other cultures,” Benayoum said without suspecting that it would trigger a flood of hate messages against her on Twitter. Surfers wrote that “Hitler forgot to exterminate you, Miss Provence,” “Uncle Hitler forgot to exterminate you,” “Miss Provence has a link with Israel. Get rid of her.” “I vote against the Jew. Miss Provence is Israeli this bitch (…) I boycott Israel,” said the offending tweets.
“Each of the tweets of the defendants are for me the expression of a minimum contempt or an invective against a person because of his origin,” the prosecutor considered.
The eight defendants are tried for “public insults committed because of origin, ethnicity, race or religion.’’
They were facing one year in prison and a 45,000 euro fine.
At the hearing, they all admitted to having written offensive words but none recognized the anti-Semitic nature of the messages posted. Some conceded that they acted in the name of the Palestinian cause. Their lawyers denounced “the political pressure” surrounding this trial, while several members of the government had expressed their indignation at the time of the events.’’
Benayoun said she wanted to use the trial to change misconceptions about Israel.
The court ruling has been set for November 3rd.