France

Rachida Dati libelled peace wall couple, court rules

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France’s former Justice minister, Rachida Dati, was given a suspended fine of 2000 euros for defamation on Tuesday in a case concerning the “Wall for Peace” on the Champs de Mars near the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

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The wall, created by artist Clara Halter and the architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, was erected in 2000.

It consists of 12 glass panels on which the word “peace” is inscribed in 32 languages.

Rachida Dati, who is now Mayor of the upmarket seventh arrondissement where the wall is situated, began a campaign to have it removed earlier this year.

Dati objected to the construction, saying it obstructed the line of vision between the Eiffel Tower and the Ecole Militaire, violating a law which protected the view.

Clara Halter and her husband, the writer Marek Halter, maintain that in 2010 they obtained authorisation for the wall to remain for at least 3 more years.

On her official website as Mayor of the seventh arrondissement, Dati said she was “shocked by Monsieur and Madame Halter’s methods and untruthful declarations in order to obtain an extension of the permit allowing their construction to stay on the Champs de Mars…. systematically hiding the fact that the wall is illegal”.

The judge deemed her comments defamatory and ordered her to publish his verdict and pay 4000 euros in damages to the couple as well as 3000 euros to cover legal costs.
 

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