French court clears Dieudonne of incitement on Ilan Halimi remarks

(JTA) — A French court cleared comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala of charges connected to a video in which he called for the release of a man who brutally murdered a Jew.

The Correctional Court of Paris acquitted Dieudonne on Friday in connection with a video that was recorded in April 2010 in which Dieudonne called for the release of Youssouf Fofana, who is serving life sentence for the 2006 torture and murder of Ilan Halimi. Fofana and more than a dozen accomplices in a gang had abducted Halimi for ransom.

In the video, Dieudonne said Fofana’s incarceration “shows the power of the Jewish lobby,” according to a report Friday by the Le Parisien daily.

But Dieudonne was acquitted because the prosecution and police failed to demonstrate that Dieudonne was behind the dissemination of the video — a requirement in prosecutions for incitement of racial hate.

In the video, Dieudonne also said that “Ilan Halimi was lucky” compared to Said Bourarach, a security guard of Moroccan descent who was found dead near Paris after having drowned in a water canal. No one was convicted for Bourarach’s death, but one of the theories investigated was that he was drowned by a gang of Jews with whom he got into a fight.

Dieudonne has seven convictions for incitement and owes approximately  $100,000 in fines that he has refused to pay, claiming bankruptcy.

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