The judgment is final. The director of Current values (GO), Erik Monjalous, and a journalist from the weekly, Laurent Jullien, were sentenced Thursday on appeal in Paris to a suspended fine of 1,000 euros for public insult of a racist nature against LFI deputy Danièle Obono. They are also condemned by the court of appeal to pay 5,000 euros in damages to the elected representative as well as a symbolic euro for the associations having constituted civil parties with the deputy.
“By condemning the drafting of Current Values for its infamous article “Obono l’Africaine” which shocked the whole of France last year, the Paris Court of Appeal put a stop to the dissemination of racist and xenophobic speeches by the extreme right and the extreme right”, reacted Danièle Obono in a press release received by AFP. “This new decision (…) is a validation and an encouragement to continue the fight against racism in all its forms and expressions,” she added. These sentences are nevertheless lower than those handed down at first instance.
In August 2020, the magazine published a seven-page story titled “Obono l’Africaine”, where it told how the Gabon-born elected representative of Paris, portrayed as a slave, experienced “the responsibility of Africans in the horrors of the slavery” in the 18th century. The article, accompanied by drawings representing the deputy with an iron collar around her neck, had been unanimously condemned by the entire political class, President Emmanuel Macron in the lead.
A “humiliation” for the deputy
At the helm of the Court of Appeal, the elected official had come to say that she “always felt some discomfort” since this case. “The references of the images, the justifications that are made around, I still feel the injustice that was done to me and the humiliation that it was,” she said. The author of the article, Laurent Jullien, explained that “the principle of this episode was to demonstrate what this slavery was in reality”.
Civil party alongside MP LFI, the League of Human Rights (LDH) was “delighted” with the new court decision, writing: “The alleged fiction does not allow to represent a deputy of the Republic , because black, as a slave, in an unworthy situation”. In his indictment, Advocate General Michel Lernoux recalled that “it is mainly because of his origin” that Danièle Obono had been chosen. He had requested a fine of 10,000 euros against Laurent Jullien, Geoffroy Lejeune and Erik Monjalous.