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French cartoonist skips trial

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A French cartoonist accused of inciting “racial hatred” did not appear at his preliminary trial.

The drawings of Maurice Sinet, 79, are supposedly anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic.

Sinet, known as Sinי, stayed home Tuesday to work on the pilot edition of his new weekly satirical magazine, which came out Wednesday. Sinי Hebdo, which features a drawing of a grinning Sinי making an obscene gesture on the cover, is the rabble-rousing artist’s response to his July firing from the far-left satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo over a recent cartoon at the center of Tuesday’s hearing.

The competing weekly looks very similar to Charlie Hebdo, costs the same and comes out the same day.

Sinet’s firing in the summer sparked a storm in the media and blogosphere. His editor, Philippe Val, dismissed the satirist over a drawing implying that Jean Sarkozy, 22, the son of the French president, would benefit politically once he converted to Judaism and married his Jewish fiance. The young Sarkozy has not confirmed a desire to convert.

On Tuesday, Sinet’s lawyer faxed judges a list of witnesses to be heard in his defense that included Jean Sarkozy and Val – to the surprise of prosecutors for the French human rights group, the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism.

The next hearing is scheduled for Jan. 27, according to the French press agency.

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