This is the trial of social networks, comments shared without being read before. From the violence of the comments that we broadcast or that we “like”, while thinking of being relieved of all responsibility…
In a village in Boischaut with 315 inhabitants, Ids-Saint-Roch, the idea of the mayor, Martine Fourdraine, in December 2019, to euthanize stray cats in her town to put an end to nuisances and problems of hygiene unleashes passions. Like everything that can affect animals on social networks.
A petition, asking the mayor of Ids-Saint-Roch not to euthanize stray cats, gathers 29,000 signatures
Lovers of clerks then launched a petition on Facebook entitled: “The mayor of Ids-Saint-Roch wants to euthanize the stray cats in his town. It generates more than 50,000 signatures, almost 5,000 comments. Among them, several authors are skidding: one of them writes that it is necessary to “euthanize the mayor”.
This Wednesday afternoon, five people (one of them was absent) were prosecuted, for provocation not followed by effect to the crime or misdemeanor by word, writing, image or means of communication to the public by electronic way. They are aged 76, 63, 62, 57, 28, four women, one man. They are not all from Ids-Saint-Roch. There’s a niece who “likes” her aunt’s post. A resident of a neighboring town. Also a legal expert. Some have fought side by side against a wind turbine project in the town and the cat affair has awakened their combativeness against the mayor of Ids-Saint-Roch.
A defender of stray cats explains, at the helm: “It was a joke to use the word euthanasia. I took the same comment as that of the petition, I did not realize the impact at the time. I specified the name of the mayor because in the petition, many believed that it was a man. The term “euthanize” was inappropriate, but I didn’t have the will to kill her! Another defendant is less nuanced: “I wanted to refer the cruelty of his decision by words to the person who made this decision. I wrote “she only sows death”. And I assume it without the intention of hurting him. »
A septuagenarian, not too familiar with the internet, he says, also participated in what the lawyer for the mayor of Ids-Saint-Roch calls “the quarry”, “the sounding board” that can be a social network like Facebook.
“My comment was more about wind turbines than cats. I wanted to make a good word and I bite my fingers. “How to treat it, perhaps with an infra-sound cure” was a benevolent thought”, he believes.
Mayor since 2001 of Ids-Saint-Roch, Martine Fourdraine, civil party in this case, believes that we are not there, “in the context of freedom of expression. I was particularly touched by this call to murder that had been launched. We cannot simply wish for the death of a mayor and a person. A death threat cannot be trivialized. »
One of the court president’s assessors asked the defendants if they would have felt responsible, referring to the Samuel Paty case (this teacher who had his throat cut on October 16, 2020 in Éragny, Val-d’Oise) if someone had taken action: three of the defendants said “in part”, a fourth said curtly “no”.
The lawyer for the mayor of Ids-Saint-Roch highlighted an “undeniable prejudice”, the consequence of words which “could have caused facts likely to make him fear for his physical integrity and his life. The lawyer asked for almost 10,000 euros in damages. For its part, the prosecution, which is not behind these proceedings, referred to the decision of the correctional court of Bourges, within the framework of the law of 1881 on the press.
Defense lawyers have minimized the scope of the verb “euthanize”, addressed to the mayor. All pleaded for the release of the defendants. “This case is going to be pschitttt” insisted another lawyer. A colleague evokes an election story… The decision was put under advisement on June 1st.