French comedian Dieudonné Mbala has been charged with condoning terrorism following a Facebook comment in which he expressed support for Ahmedy Coulibaly, the gunman who took hostages at a kosher supermarket and killed five people.
While in court Dieudonné stated: “of course I condemn the attacks without any restrain and without any ambiguity.”
He angered French officials after posting a statement online which read: “Je suis Charlie Coulibaly,” after thousands marched in Paris under the slogan “Je suis Charlie” in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo. Dieudonné was arrested January 14.
Following Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve’s request that authorities investigate the comedian’s remarks, Dieudonné responded that he was being “treated as a public enemy when all he wanted to do was make a joke.”
Many see his arrest as a violation of free speech and an example of the government’s double standard.
Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland said “The case has raised new questions about French values of freedom, equality and fraternity.” Dieudonné could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison. In addition to the recent allegations he already faces already other charges after being convicted for inciting anti-Semitism.
“He is currently involved in several trials here, on charges ranging from slander, to incitement of racial hatred, to condoning terrorism. In all cases, he denies the charges,” an Al Jazeera correspondent said.