If Brigitte Bardot (73) had been fifty years younger, French President Nicolas Sarkozy might have made her France’s First Lady and her nude pictures might have been sold to help charities in Cambodia. Now, instead, the French are taking her to court.
The former French sex symbol stood trial in Paris today for “inciting racial hatred” against Muslims. The public prosecutor demanded that the former filmstar be given a two-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of 15,000 euros.
In December 2006, Bardot wrote a letter to Sarkozy, then France’s Interior minister, to demand that Muslims anaesthesize their animals before slaughtering them. In her letter she said, referring to Muslims, that she is “fed up with being under the thumb of this population which is destroying us, destroying our country and imposing its habits.”
Since 1997 Bardot has already been fined four times for “inciting hatred” against Muslims. Recently she was given a fine of 5,000 euros. Public prosecutor Anne de Fontette told the court today that she was seeking a tough sentence because she is getting “tired of prosecuting Mrs Bardot.” The former star refuses to shut up. The verdict of the Paris court is expected on 3 June.
In Austria, the authorities are prosecuting the politician Susanne Winter on similar charges of “Islamophobia,” while in Belgium the minister of Justice has asked the European Parliament to lift the immunity of Frank Vanhecke, a member of the European Parliament and a leading member and former president (1996-2008) of the Vlaams Belang party, a secessionist party which aims for the independence of Dutch-speaking Flanders from Belgium. The Belgian authorities want to prosecute Vanhecke for a leaflet his party published in 2005, in which acts of vandalism in the city of Sint-Niklaas were linked to Moroccan youths. As the perpetrators of the vandalism were minors their identity has not been divulged by the authorities and Vanhecke is unable to prove whether or not they are indeed immigrants.
On September 11 last year Mr. Vanhecke was severely beaten up and publicly humiliated by the Belgian police during a demonstration in Brussels to remember the victims of 9/11. If convicted now he could lose his seat in the European Parliament as well as his right to be active in politics.