A former soldier, convicted of desecrating Muslim graves with pieces of pork, in the cemetery at Castres in south-west France, received a 3-month suspended prison sentence on Wednesday 4 January.
In January 2011 the former soldier left pieces of pork rind on three graves in the Muslim section of Castres cemetery. Identified by DNA traces left on the rind, the accused, aged 48 and retired from the army for ten years, assured the court that his gesture was aimed only against radical Muslims, and he offered his apologies to the families of the deceased. During the investigation, he initially described himself as “a resistance fighter against the Arab-Muslim invasion”.
The accused, a former paratrooper and a member of the far-right party the National Front, from which he was suspended following his arrest, was ordered to pay €1,000 in damages to the families of two of the victims, as well as one euro in damages to a third victim and a token euro to the anti-racist associations and the French Council of the Muslim Faith who were the civil parties in the case.
The indictment, at the hearing on 7 December, made more noise than the case itself, because the vice-prosecutor Philippe Mao had openly implicated government policy. “What we have to pass judgement on is the result of an ill wind that has been blowing through our country for several years, of which I think it can be said that the highest state authorities are not innocent and contribute to feeding it, even if they are not the only ones”, he declared.
The parliamentary deputy for Tarn, Bernard Carayon (presidential majority), has since demanded sanctions against the magistrate. “These words, which establish a link between this unspeakable act and the policy adopted by the head of state, are unworthy of a magistrate, deeply anti-republican and call for an appropriate judicial or administrative response”, he said in a statement.