France: Grave defacers to jail

Two young French men were sentenced to two years in jail on Wednesday, one of which was suspended, for defacing Muslim military graves in northern France last month.

The pair, named only as Steeve, 21, and Vincent, 18, scrawled Nazi graffiti, including swastikas and "Heil Hitler" slogans, over 52 Muslim graves at the Notre-Dame-de-Lorette cemetery near the Belgian border.

The prosecution had asked the court in Arras for a sentence that would "be an example for all the Nazi-sympathisers of their type."

But defence lawyer David Lefranc painted his clients as "small-fry skin-heads" and Steeve, who is unemployed, denied being a supporter of Hitler.

A 16-year-old suspected accomplice will appear separately before a youth court because of his age.

Before the trial, all three apologised to the Muslim community in letters published online by their lawyer. Steeve read out a similar letter in court on Wednesday.

Source: Expatica (English)

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