23.08.2014 - LETTER
Shameful conviction of Guilles Bourdouleix, mayor of Cholet (France) who publicly stated that Hitler “perhaps had not killed enough Gypsies”
It was exactly one year ago that a group of us Roma from Barcelona protested at the French Consulate against statements made by French Deputy Guilles Bourdouleix who stated that “maybe Hitler did not kill enough Gypsies.”
Our protest had a great impact and the entire civilized world spoke of the brutality shown by this political scoundrel who was expelled from his party, the centrist UDI, but remained mayor of the major city of Cholet which has more than 50,000 inhabitants.
Guilles Bourdouleix who was already initially convicted, has seen his conviction upheld Tuesday by the Court of Appeal of Angers to pay the sum of 3,000 euros.
This is what feuls our outrage. We see no connection between the crime committed—because it was a serious crime and not a simple misdemeanor—and the pathetic sentence, which for Bourdouleix must be little more than pocket change. What will racists make of this? Sheltered under the triumphant European party of Mrs. Le Pen? Will they not understand that this complements the murderous gas chambers and attacks on any kind of gypsy? This is what the racist and anti-gypsy parties existing in Greece, Hungary, Slovakia, the Netherlands and many other countries have understood. The current outlook of the European Parliament is truly bleak as we contemplate the extraordinary presence that the big election winners have, calling themselves eurosceptics or Europhobes.
But what about France?
Nor do we understand the position of the French judges. Is it or is it not an incitement of racial hatred and violence when the mayor of the city laments that Hitler had not killed all the gypsies? Do the citizens not interpret that in their pathetic mayor lies an invitation to carry out what Adolf Hitler did not have time to finish?
The three thousand euro fine is supposed to have cancelled out the prison time that would have corresponded with equanimity. If this admirer of Hitler had been held accountable under, for example, Article 510.1 of our Criminal Code he would have had a prison sentence of one to three years and a fine of six to twelve months. As we do not know the exact sentence, we can not know how much the daily fine is, which must be ridiculous when you consider that in Spain the duration of a fine ranges from five days to two years and the minimum daily amount is 1.20 euros and the maximum 300.51 euros.
Bourdouleix can be happy because he cannot be held responsbile under the prelimiary draft law which modifies the Penal Code and is now pending in the Congress of Deputies. The new Article 510.1 in letter c) increases the penalty of imprisonment of one to four years for those “who deny, trivialize or exalt seriously the crimes of genocide [...] or exalt their authors, when they would be committed against a group or part thereof, or against a particular person because of their belonging, for racist reasons,... " etc.
Mayor Cholet has seriously trivialized the genocide when he lamented that Hitler had not killed more gypsies. Mayor Cholet has exalted Hitler, who he consideres the author of something that he admires: the killing of Gypsies, although not as many as he would have liked. Finally, for all the weight of the Spanish Law to have fallen on him, his glorification of the Nazi dictator is just that because Hitler moved against a group or part thereof, by reason of their belonging to it, for racist reasons.
If we had been able to intervene in the trial, without a doubt, we would have asked for a prison sentence of four years and disqualification to continue exercising public power. On the other hand, we do not know whether with these 3,000 euros if Mr. Gilles Bourdouleix will only have to deprive himself of another party with his followers.
Juan de Dios Ramírez-Heredia
Lawyer and journalist
Romani Union President