September 19, 2021

the two accused skinheads sentenced on appeal to eight and five years in prison

The two skinheads tried on appeal before the Assize Court of Essonne for the death “Absurd” and “Avoidable”, in 2013 in Paris, anti-fascist activist Clément Méric, were sentenced to eight and five years in prison, less severe sentences than at first instance.

“If the meeting is fortuitous, the file shows that the death of Clément Méric was not the result of chance, there was a rise in power and a form of hatred”, launched the Advocate General, Philippe Courroye. During his indictment, which lasted two hours, he asked the court to retain “The use of a weapon” by the two accused, a brass knuckle, of which, during the proceedings, they both denied the use.

On June 5, 2013, Clément Méric, an 18-year-old student and anti-fascist activist, collapsed on the asphalt in the middle of Paris, during a violent and brief brawl between far-left activists and neo-Nazi activists, on the sidelines of a private sale of Fred Perry brand clothing.

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Self defense rejected

The two accused “Are not judged because they are or have been skinheads, but whether we like it or not, in the chain of events, in the background there is a worrying fuel, that of sectarianism, of the ostracism, the exclusion of those who do not think like us ”, continued the Advocate General, referring to the “Common drift” from the accused to a “Toxic ideology”. “I dare to hope that you have distanced yourself from this deadly ideology”, breathed the magistrate, adding that the death of Clément was “Avoidable” and “Absurd”.

The magistrate had requested eleven years in prison – as in first instance – against Esteban Morillo. The 28-year-old, who admitted to being the perpetrator of the fatal blows, pleaded in self-defense, saying to himself “Sorry” of death « horrible » of Clément Méric but assuring that he defended himself from a “Ambush” orchestrated by anti-fascist activists. The Essonne assizes rejected by an absolute majority this question of self-defense and sentenced him to eight years of imprisonment.

“It is a less heavy sentence (…) but it is a very bitter decision for the defense” car “Difficult to understand in terms of truth”, reacted his lawyer Me Jérôme Triomphe. “The political passions opposite, the media pressure and especially the ideological pressure of those who had already attacked them, were too strong”, he estimated with Agence France-Presse (AFP)

The trial at first instance, in 2018: At the “Meric trial”, ex-skinhead Esteban Morillo says he has “changed”

“The truth has been repeated this evening”

Samuel Dufour, 27, had been sentenced to seven years at first instance. Even if he had not hit Clément Méric, the Paris Assize Court had ruled that his participation in the fight had prevented Clément Méric’s comrades from coming to the aid of the victim. On appeal, he also assured to have defended himself, which the court of Essonne rejected, by sentencing him to five years of imprisonment.

“This is a case in which our clients defended themselves from external aggression, but it was undoubtedly too difficult for the court and the jurors to tell the truth in this so symbolic trial”, commented his lawyer Me Grégoire Etrillard.

The two men greeted the sentence calmly. “You will be taken back to the remand center”, said the president of the Assize Court Thierry Fusina, specifying that the motivation sheet explaining the choice of the court will be communicated on Monday.

“The truth has been repeated this evening”said Me Cosima Ouhioun, representing the Méric family since the trial at first instance. “Clément Méric was the victim of an attack by arms armed with American fists, but also by a violent ideology which was a poison as much for the accused as for the victims”, she continued.

Read also A trial to shed light on the death of anti-fascist activist Clément Méric

The World with AFP