On Trial for 'Defending Terrorism,' French Comic Tells Court He Condemns Paris Attacks

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French comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala arrives for a press conference in a theater in Paris, France, January 2014.Credit: AP

Controversial French comic Dieudonne M'bala M'bala, who has gone on trial charged with "defending terrorism" in a Facebook post made after the three-day terror spree in Paris last month, told the court on Wednesday that he fully condemned the attacks.

"Of course I condemn the attacks without any restraint and without any ambiguity," the comedian said, according to France 24.

The comic, known by his stage name Dieudonne, made a Facebook posting which said "I feel like Charlie Coulibaly." The post, which has since been taken down, merges the names of Charlie Hebdo, the satirical magazine where two gunmen killed 12 people, and that of Amedy Coulibaly, who prosecutors say killed four hostages at a kosher supermarket and a policewoman. All three gunmen were killed in nearly simultaneous raids by security forces Jan. 9.

Dieudonne, who popularized an arm gesture that resembles a Nazi salute and who has been convicted repeatedly of racism and anti-Semitism, was in detention last month for the aforementioned Facebook post. His provocative performances were banned last year but he has a core following among many of France's disaffected young people.

France's government is preparing new anti-terrorism measures and says it want to crack down on anyone who defends terrorism. On Monday, a man who praised the attackers in a drunken rant while resisting arrest was sentenced to four years in prison.

Advocating terrorism carries a sentence of up to 7 years in prison and a 100,000-euro ($127,921) fine, the Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a statement last month.

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