French interior minister fined for making racist comments

A French court has fined Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux for making racist comments about a young party activist of Algerian origin. The court fined Mr Hortefeux 750 euros (£622) and ordered that he pay 2,000 euros to an anti-racism group. The comments were made in September 2009 and were broadcast in a video clip that circulated on the internet.

The court ruled that his remark was “incontestably offensive, if not contemptuous”. The court did not issue a criminal conviction, judging that Mr Hortefeux had not intended the comments to be heard in public. It found him guilty instead of the lesser offence of racial insult.