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PARIS – A French anti-terrorism court on Friday found three people guilty of plotting to attack President Emmanuel Macron after a trial that spotlighted a radical far-right online group.

Three men, who are part of a Facebook group known as “Barjols,” are accused of terrorism after a court discussed stabbing Mr Macron with a ceramic knife during a World War I memorial service in 2018. He was found guilty of conspiring to commit an act.

Jean-Pierre Bouier, a 66-year-old former machinist, was sentenced to up to four years in prison, suspended for one year.

He was arrested along with three others in the eastern Moselle on 6 November 2018. Police found his Commando-style knife and Army vest in his car and his three firearms in his home.

Two other people arrested with him were given shorter sentences, and nine co-defendants and fellow members of ‘Barjol’ were acquitted.

A 13th member received a suspended sentence for illegal possession of a firearm.

Since the trial began in mid-January, courts have heard details of the group’s alcohol-fueled meetings, and racist online debates about immigration, fear of civil war and hatred of Mr Macron are frequent. It was broken.

The case also raised questions about the criminalization of online conspiracies and violent fantasies, with defense attorneys arguing that prosecutors had no evidence of a genuine desire to take action.

Bouier’s attorney, Olivia Ronen, told reporters she regretted that the judge did not recognize that “the case was disproportionate and there was no solid evidence to convict her.” Told.

Fellow defense attorney Fran├žois Ormillien said, “The trial ended halfway through,” emphasizing the guilty verdict, but a “very light” sentence.

The three main defendants plan to appeal.

“They are locking me up because of what I said. I have a right to express myself,” one of them, Mickael Iber, later told AFP.

Racism

The lead prosecutor called the group an “incubator for violent behavior” when it compiled claims against 13 defendants, most of whom had no criminal record.

Their ideas may seem “outlandish,” but “the threat was real,” she said.

They resembled Islamic extremists in their “fascination with violence” and their distaste for those they viewed as enemies, she added.

https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/french-court-convicts-three-over-macron-attack-plot French court convicts three of Macron’s attack plots

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