French comedian to face trial for anti-Semitism

9th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

Dieudonne Mbala Mbala will go on trial for having an actor dressed as a Jewish deportee award a prize to a Holocaust denier during a comedy show.

PARIS – A French comic will go on trial in May on charges of anti-Semitism after he awarded a prize to a Holocaust denier during a comedy show, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Dieudonne sparked outrage when he had an actor dressed as a Jewish deportee present the prize for "unrespectability and insolence" to Robert Faurisson, an academic who has denied the existence of the Holocaust.

Far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, who recently caused an uproar for again calling Nazi gas chambers a "detail of World War II history," was in the audience during the show on 29 December at one of Paris' biggest concert halls.

The Paris criminal court will begin hearing the case on 5 May, the prosecutor's office said.

The black comedian, whose full name is Dieudonne Mbala Mbala, has over the past years been ordered to pay several fines for inciting hatred.

Dieudonne, 42, faces a possible sentence of six months in prison and a maximum fine of EUR 22,500 if convicted.

In September 2007, he was fined EUR 7,000 after he accused Jews of "memorial pornography" for their remembrance of the Holocaust during a press conference in Algeria in 2005.

In the same conference he attacked "the Zionist lobby which cultivates the idea of their unique suffering ... and has declared war on the black world."

In March, the comedian born to a Cameroonian father again caused a stir after he announced plans to run as an "anti-Zionist" candidate in the June elections to the European parliament.

Dieudonne is to answer charges of causing offense to a group of persons based on their origin, ethnic background, race or religion, a judicial source said.

Several city councils had decided to cancel shows by the comedian over the past months and Culture Minister Christine Albanel called it a "provocation" that "is hurtful and offensive".

AFP / Expatica

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