A French court has sentenced a riot police officer to 18 months in prison for assaulting a British pro-immigrant activist in Calais after a three-year legal trial, which initially charged the volunteer. Sentenced
Human rights group Amnesty International said the ruling gave a clear signal that such abuses would not be tolerated following allegations of police brutality against activists and minorities.
Many British groups operate in informal camps spread around the northern port of Kallis, a major crossing point for migrants trying to reach the UK.
A CRS riot force team joined forces with British volunteers during an operation to evacuate immigrants in July 2018, along with a prosecuting officer, identified only as Laurent M., by activist Tom. Svetkowski was knocked to the ground.
The police officer claimed that he had defended himself after Strotford-upon-Avon council worker Ciotkowski, who had volunteered with the Help Refugee Group, hugged him to his chest and called him a “bitch bastard.”
But Bologna Sir Mir’s court rejected his story, found him guilty of assault and perjury, sentenced him to suspended prison and sentenced him to two years in prison.
Two more junior officers who backed up his account were cleared of wrongdoing.
– ‘Different feeling’ –
“This is a significant decision in a case that has become a symbol of the police’s crackdown on refugees and human rights defenders,” said Katia Rox, Amnesty International France’s director of advocacy.
Ciotkowski was tried in 2019, but video footage of the attack following the court ruling showed it was unprovoked.
Amnesty’s statement quoted Ciotkowski as saying he was happy to see justice “for three years, after a long and stressful time”.
“I am afraid to think what would have happened if I and other people had not been able to film this incident. I could very well be convicted today.
The 18-month suspended sentence was harsher than the 12 months sought by the prosecution.
Prosecutor Dorothy Pierre told the court she had an “undesirable feeling” that officers “lied to cover up acts of violence and justify a painful arrest.”
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