ER Editor: Back in April of 2018, around 100 young people of the right-wing youth group Génération Identitaire staged a type of protest and border check at an alpine pass in the Alps near a town called Gap, a typical point through which illegal migrants enter France from Italy. They handed over 4 illegals to the authorities according to reports. They were clearly marked by their royal blue outfits and banners (see image). As the FreeWest Media report indicates below, three of its principal members have each received a 6-month prison sentence, considered to be very harsh as well as political, but sadly in keeping with the draconian police and judicial treatment of the Yellow Vests in the last few months, which has been condemned by international bodies.
A group led by General Antoine Martinez, called ‘Volontaires pour la France’, said the following in a communiqué of this past week, supporting the action of the young people and criticising the response of the government:
Before the State’s incapacity to apply the laws of the Republic to stop the illegal entry of migrants, the State being unable to guarantee territorial integrity in accordance with Article V of the French Constitution, the young Identitarians had decided to conduct, symbolically and peacefully, a publicized operation at the Col de l’Echelle in April 2018. They thus showed that it was possible to protect the borders if there is a will to do so.
Devant l’incapacité des pouvoirs publics à faire appliquer les lois de la République pour empêcher l’entrée illégale et continue sur notre territoire de clandestins, l’Etat n’assurant pas l’intégrité du territoire en contradiction totale avec l’article V de notre Constitution, les jeunes Identitaires avaient décidé de mener symboliquement et pacifiquement une opération médiatisée au col de l’Echelle en avril 2018. Ils démontraient ainsi qu’il était possible de protéger la frontière à condition de le vouloir.
Martinez goes on to criticise the double standards at play. The UN Migration Compact signed in Marrakech at the end of last year permits illegal migrants to act in such a manner with total impunity, yet patriots who want to defend their borders and culture are not permitted to do so, even though the UN Migration Compact is claimed to be non-binding.
Three French Identitarians receive harsh prison sentences for Alps action
On Thursday, three representatives of the French chapter of the Identitarians, Damien Rieu, Clement Galant and Romain Espino, received heavy penalties for their participation in the operation to stop illegals from crossing into France.
The three members were sentenced to six months in prison, while the organisation itself was fined €75,000 by a court in the Hautes-Alpes town of Gap.
During their operation, they caught and handed over four illegal migrants to authorities. Despite that, the defendants were prosecuted for “activities carried out under conditions likely to create confusion in the minds of the public with the exercise of a public function”. (ER: meaning it was believed they were imitating law enforcement)
Clément Gandelin (known as Galant), 24, president of Génération Identitaire, Romain Espino, 26, organiser and spokesman, and former organiser Damien Lefèvre (known as Rieu), 29, also received hefty fines of €2,000 each.
The court claimed that the sentence was handed down because of the “extremely serious nature” of the offence as well as the large “disturbance of public order”.
The operation launched by the Identitarians on the Col de l’Échelle (see map), a crossing point for many illegals in the Hautes-Alpes, on April 21, 2018, saw at least a hundred volunteers dressed in blue jackets forming a “symbolic border”.
Rieu, who has 50,000 followers on a verified Twitter account, denounced the harsh sentence, saying that the prosecutors had “decided to persecute young Frenchmen who dare to prove symbolically and peacefully that defending our borders is possible.” He also requested donations via a Tipeee account.
Pierre-Vincent Lambert, the lawyer for the defendants, said they would appeal the decision. “My clients are extremely determined.” He also believes that the court’s decision was based on a false legal argument.
“It is necessarily so, since my clients have been convicted of an offense that is not characterized. They are accused of having exercised ‘an activity likely to create confusion in the minds of the public with the exercise of a public office’.
“In other words, my clients pretended that they were police or gendarmes, which is strictly inaccurate. The action was explicitly labeled ‘Identity Generation’. From pick-ups to the helicopter to the banners brandished during the operation, the words ‘Defend Europe’ appeared everywhere,” Lambert pointed out.
The reasoning that the judges adopted was following some kind of an expanded interpretation of the offense, Lambert explained. “They considered that the assumption that my clients ‘had the intention’ [sic] to pretend to be agents of public authority, could not be ruled out.
“And it did not matter [to the court] that none of the people mentioned in the case – neither the border activists nor the migrants in particular – thought for a moment that they were policemen or gendarmes.”
According to Lambert, this was a political decision. “Otherwise, the court would not have bothered to pronounce the annulation of the civil and political rights of my clients for 5 years. Nobody has been fooled,” he said. The Indentitarians were targeted to stop them from voting or standing for an election.
The day after his conviction with two other activists to six months in prison, Rieu confided in Valeurs Actuelles that this verdict would not alter their determination:
“We will continue our fight against those who impose on us an undesirable African immigration. We are all the more determined because we know the majority of French people are with us.
“It is not us who say so, but the FIFG, which, in a 2018 survey for the JDD, showed that 64 percent of French people did not consider it desirable to receive additional immigrants.
After the Gap Criminal Court sentenced the three leaders, several members of the National Rally responded to this sanction, reported Europe 1. For them, this conviction is the symbol of the bias of French justice.
“How can we not doubt the impartiality of justice when young people are sentenced to prison for carrying out a peaceful action?” protested Nicolas Bay (pictured), member of the executive of the RN party. “These activists, who only demanded the application of the law and the protection of our borders, should be supported,” he added.
The spokesman of the RN, Sébastien Chenu, went even further in his condemnation on Twitter: “If the death penalty still existed, Damien Rieu would be sent to the scaffold with such justice!” he argued.
The head of the list of the National Rally for Europe, Jordan Bardella said a double standard prevails in France. “To demand the application of the law, to be a young person who defends his country and his people, means prison in France in 2019?
“At the same time the worst criminals enjoy a staggering laxity” he continued, saying it was “very disturbing”.
Thierry Mariani, recent defector of the Republicans, drew a parallel between the Identitarians and an open-border activist Cédric Herrou. The latter is known to have helped migrants enter illegally into France. He received only a four-month suspended prison sentence before this decision was also finally annulled on appeal.
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