Appeal of two Christians sentenced at first instance for homophobia

Info Chrétienne has been following the story of these two Christians for several months, accused and sentenced to court in the first instance for having distributed the testimony of a homosexual convert to Jesus Christ. His conversion to Jesus Christ having implied the abandonment of his homosexuality.

The two Christians had appealed against their condemnation. Info Chrétienne who was present during the trial at first instance participated this afternoon, Wednesday April 6, in the appeal hearing. Defense lawyers Me Jean Ngafaounin and Me Nicolas Duval pleaded for the nullity of the trial for several reasons.

When Michel and Alain were summoned before a Judicial Police officer in Jarnac, they were notified of a single charge and during the hearing three were presented. The same fact has been qualified three times:

insult, incitement to hatred and violence on the grounds of sexual orientation and incitement to discrimination on the same grounds. The two defense lawyers therefore request that the trial be declared null and void because the same fact can only be qualified once.

The ADHEOS association, which became a civil party, has existed for more than 5 years but the mention of the fight against homophobia was only added to its statutes in 2011 (therefore for less than 5 years at the time of the facts) , she was therefore not authorized to become a civil party, hence the second request for nullity.

Regarding the terms themselves, the insult must be characterized and directed to a specific person while the leaflet does not contain any offensive term and does not target any specific person. The fact of disseminating a testimony does not constitute an offense, it does not contain discrimination because the law only provides for this term in a professional context. In this tract homosexuality is not associated with disease as the prosecution claims, it is just a person's experience without generalization.

The lawyers insist that the defendants do not know exactly why they are charged. The advisor-rapporteur asks the two defendants why they appealed against the conviction of Angoulême. Both respond:

“Because I am innocent of the charges against me. "

Alain and Michel were questioned on the reasons which led them to distribute this leaflet and on their convictions. Alain in particular declared that he felt touched by the distress of many young homosexuals, going as far as suicide attempts.

The lawyer for the civil party describes the leaflet as "Stupid, written by weirdos addressed to morons" and he compared the two defendants to dangerous terrorist jihadists. He denied the existence of Christianophobia and recalled the conviction of Christine Boutin who said:

“I hate homosexuality but I love homosexuals”.

In short, for him, this leaflet contains a virulent call for hatred and violence against homosexuals. The Attorney General  calls for 15 days in prison suspended for each, 3000 euros fine and the publication at the expense of the defendants of the sentence in the newspaper Sud Ouest.

Me Duval recalls the report of the ethics commission of the CNEF which underlines the obligation for Christians to love their next homosexual. And that each person takes precedence over their sexual orientation. Alain and Michel are part of this dynamic. It is about freedom of religious expression.

The content of the leaflet is the testimony of a young person who describes his journey. It contains no opinions, no comments, no theology, it does not target anyone in particular. The subjectivity of receiving a message cannot be a criminal argument, it is only an interpretation and it is therefore insufficient to characterize an offense.

Conclusion of Me Duval:

"Would this be a fake fight?" Couldn't a pronounced release allow a dialogue? "

Alain's conclusion:

“It is both the expression of a religious conviction and an experience that can help other people. "

Deliberated on May 25 at 14 p.m.


Image: Courtroom of the court of Bordeaux

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