Christian Belmer Acquitted
In March of this year I posted an article on Christian Belmer, a teacher at Schuman High School in Le Havre, who was suspended for four months (with pay) for participating in a website critical of Chirac's pro-Arab policy and of the Ministry of Education's pro-Palestinian policy. In particular, the website displayed caricatures of Chirac, logos depicting the Islamization of France, and photos of decapitated victims of Islamic terror. On April 24 his trial came up and one of the contributors to Instinct de Survie was in attendance. It should be stated that Schuman High School is 60% Arab, 40% other (including French) and that the main pursuer of Mr. Belmer is the principal Mr. Croizet, not the Ministry of Education:
The trial took place in Le Havre on April 24 and Mr. Croizet, the principal of Schuman High was a witness for the prosecution.
Mr. Belmer's attorney was Patrick Ben Bouali.
After some preliminaries, the judges asked the prosecutor if he wouldn't prefer to just file a report (since most of the accusations were impossible to prove). No. They went on with the trial.
The judge asked specific questions about the blog and was quick to accept Mr. Belmer's answers: Yes, it was obvious that there was more than one contributor to the blog, since some "charitable soul" had erased everything during the time of Mr. Belmer's detention. Yes, the photo of the European flag came from the website "Non à la Turquie", where Mr. Bayrou, among others, had signed on. Yes, the photos of the decapitation are everywhere on the Internet and in several magazines (and children see far worse things on their video games and on television and in the movies).
Note: If you click the link provided at the end you will see the photos alluded to above.
Then it was the prosecutor's turn.
He insisted that the photos online, even though not Mr. Belmer's and even though he had not posted them, were nonetheless his responsibility. And since they were on a French website they were subject to French law!
Unfortunately, Mr. Belmer didn't think to answer that the site, Blogspot, is not in France, but in the United States.
OK. That was a technicality.
Then the principal, Mr. Croizet, was heard.
He explained his anger at Mr. Belmer, and tried to justify his invitation to Laïla Shahid and his acceptance of her propaganda.
Note: Laïla Shahid is the granddaughter of the grand mufti of Jerusalem who collaborated with Adolph Hitler (review the video). Croizet had invited her to speak at the school.
Then the judge asked Mr. Croizet about the professional conduct of Mr. Belmer and was told that it was irreproachable in all respects.
Mr. Ben Bouali did not cross-examine him since he had already sunk himself.
The time had come for the lawyers' arguments.
I don't remember the exact words of the prosecutor, but it was something like: He was a racist to have this blog and to post pictures of Chirac in caricature and the photo of "IslamaFrance" was a provocation to racial hatred... But the prosecutor was not very sure of himself, for he only asked for a fine of 2000 euros.
Mr. Ben Bouali then presented his case and demonstrated total mastery of the subject.
He said that the blog had all kinds of articles, and he centered his argument on the freedom of speech that we have and ought to have in France. It is thanks to this freedom that we have made France a developed country, that we have dared approach taboo subjects, for without open discussions, we would be shut up in the Middle Ages, culturally speaking.
Voltaire would have been shocked by such a trial in the 21st century. What has become of the critical spirit? Are we not free not to agree with each other? Where will it stop?
The evidence - the so-called proof of Mr. Belmer's guilt - did not stand up to scrutiny.
First, it was incredible that a man be judged on so-called printed matter submitted by his accuser. The photos? The caricatures? What about the cover of Philippe de Villiers' book The Turqueries du Grand Mamamouchi that shows Chirac dressed as a Turk? Should we condemn the author, or the publisher? The same for the photos of the decapitation which most magazines published. Should we not show the horror to better fight it? Should we condemn Figaro Magazine that dared to show Marianne wearing a veil, with the headline: Will we still be French in 30 years? In short, if we forbid those things then all speech and all progress will disappear and we will be a dictatorship and not a democracy.
Note: Marianne is the symbol of the French Republic.
Finally, Attorney Ben Bouali demanded the acquittal, pure and simple, of Mr. Belmer.
During the argument, the prosecutor, with his arms crossed, sulked while the judges smiled, impressed as they were by the energy of Ben Bouali, and when it was over I felt like applauding.
Now there is another hitch. At the trial, there were some students from the high school who had come on another matter, but who recognized their "racist" teacher as their called him and their good principal Croizet. Some of them tried to take pictures and record what was being said, and it was only because Mrs. Belmer contacted the police that they desisted (at least I think so).
One said things like: I hope they put this racist in jail, and another drew his finger along his throat to show what was awaiting the teacher on his return.
Update: May 7, 2007 - Christian Belmer was acquitted. Mr. Croizet has two weeks to file an appeal.
Mr. Belmer is expected to return to his job at the end of May but...
Can he return?
There were students today in the courtroom, they surely heard the verdict and now the whole school knows.
Justice spoke and he was acquitted, all well and good, but will the verdict be respected in the high school?
Mr. Croizet, with his personal vendetta, has destroyed a great deal...
A longer version with photos, including the two shown above, can be found at this new website. The top photo is Christian Belmer entering the courthouse. The image of IslamaFrance was found on Mr. Belmer's website and used as evidence.