Calm but two-speed justice

Calm but two-speed justice

The de-escalation seems to take precedence over the riots triggered in France following the assassination at the hands of a police officer of young Nahel on Tuesday June 27, 2023. The number of arrests has decreased according to figures from the French Ministry of the Interior but justice has been extremely firm for minor facts.

The lull is confirmed in France after nearly a week of public order disturbances, burning of garbage cans, breakage of shops, looting of shops, resulting from popular anger, especially young people who feel oppressed and in solidarity with the young man of Algerian origin, killed by the police.

In France, cases of police violence and murder caused by elements of the police almost always have the same victims. People of foreign, North African or African origin.

The riots caused by the Nahel affair express the anger of this section of the population which has constantly organized white marches and peaceful demonstrations but which does not have the impression that justice has been done or that the problem of police violence and police checks in the suburbs is solved.

After several days of breakage, the lull is at the rendezvous according to figures from the French Ministry of the Interior. A sharp decline was recorded during the night of Monday July 3 to Tuesday July 4, 2023 with 72 people arrested, including 24 in Paris and 24 buildings burned or damaged.

The ministry recorded 159 vehicle fires and 202 fires on public roads, mostly garbage cans, and 4 attacks on police premises, during this seventh consecutive night of riots.

The French government has put in place a night force of 45,000 police and gendarmes, giving the impression that France has descended into civil war.

A 27-year-old man died on the night of Saturday July 1 to Sunday July 2, killed by police fire in Marseille, the city prosecutor’s office has just announced, citing a “probable” “flash-ball type” shot. .

A judicial investigation of the head of “fatal blows with the use or threat of a weapon” has been opened, according to the Marseille prosecutor’s office, which cites a “probable death caused by a violent shock to the chest caused by the shooting of a flash-ball projectile” causing cardiac arrest.

The first sentences concerning the riots were pronounced immediately after a circular from the Ministry of Justice. As of Friday, the Minister of Justice Éric Dupond-Moretti sent a circular to demand a “rapid, firm and systematic” criminal response.

A defendant was tried for having disseminated the name and the city where the police officer accused of intentional homicide against the young Nahel lives. Unknown until then to justice, professionally inserted, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison, including 12 suspended for a Snapchat story published yet “in private”.

A young person named Sana, aged 18, in training to be a carer, was sentenced to four months in prison for having “attempted” to loot a store in Marseille on Saturday evening. Another took 10 months in prison, arrested – as a repeat offense – with a drink in his hand as he left a looted store without having stolen products in his hands.

The majority of those involved in these cases received prison sentences when they could have had electronic bracelets. This echoes the sentence imposed on comedian Pierre Palmade, who caused a fatal road accident while drunk and under the effects of hard drugs. The actor was not entitled to any day in prison but a simple electronic bracelet as well as permission to go out on weekends.

Since the start of the judgments, 350 incarcerations have been decided, said the Keeper of the Seals on Tuesday. The French remain indignant at the double standards adopted in this affair.

Videos showed elements of the police not proceeding to the arrest of young thieves of Caucasian type in looted stores, while others of North African or African type were arrested at the exit of these looted stores and immediately placed under a warrant of committal and sentenced to prison terms.

Lawyers jump to the ceiling denouncing political justice and crying foul. Most of these convicts are young people with a median age of 17, who have had no criminal record or history.

They deplore “fuzzy” minutes, scenarios where the accused are not recognized, and sloppy procedures by magistrates who apply government instructions “blindly”.

Despite the lull, anger still persists in France, and some 90 organizations (unions, associations, collectives or political parties) called for the organization of “citizen marches” on Saturday to express “mourning and anger” and castigate policies deemed “discriminatory against working-class neighborhoods.

The Union syndicale Solidaires announced in a press release on Wednesday that these marches aim to support “the maintenance of public and individual freedoms”, and to ask the government to take “its responsibilities and (to provide) answers immediate way out of the confrontation”.

“Our country is in mourning and angry. The murder of Nahel, killed by a police officer at point-blank range in Nanterre, has laid bare the effects of decades of discriminatory and security public policies targeting in particular working-class neighborhoods and the youth who grow up there and particularly racialized and precarious people, “notes the communicated.

The organisations, ranked on the left, are calling for “in-depth” reform of the police, their intervention techniques and their armament, in particular with the repeal of the 2017 law on the relaxation of the rules on the use firearms by the police, and the replacement of the General Inspectorate of the National Police (IGPN) by a body independent of the police hierarchy and political power.


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