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Trial of 9 FEMEN activists begins in France

September 13, 2013, 17:47 UTC+3
The case in hand is an action of the feminists in Notre-Dame de Paris on February 12, 2013
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Photo EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

Photo EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

PARIS, September 13. (Itar-Tass). - Tenth Chamber of Correctional Court of Paris began today the proceedings on the case of Ukrainian feminist organization FEMEN. Nine activists are accused of “impairment of religious worship space in coactions”. All of them including Inna Shevchenko have been summoned to appear before court.

The case in hand is an action of the feminists in Notre-Dame de Paris on February 12, 2013. Then, after the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI, the activists incurred molestation that deeply outraged French spirituals. The young women, naked before the church people and numerous tourists, yelled: ‘Pope no more’ and ‘Bye bye Benedict!’. They also impaired churchware and new bells of the cathedral, delivered shortly before. The disturbers also yelled slogans supporting same-sex marriages.

FEMEN has an office in France and has already conducted several actions here. However, the movement, according to sources close to the matter, is currently going through a severe crisis due to infighting, as well as because it has lost influence among French feminist organizations. The Belgian office of the movement has already announced about its voluntary liquidation.

The plaintiff in the current process is the rector of Notre Dame Archbishop Patrick Jacquin. He wants FEMEN to pay a compensation of EUR 6,000 for the repair of damaged bell "Marcel", as well as a fee of one symbolic euro for moral damages.

Under French law, however, for this kind of action activists could face a prison term of up to five years and a fine of up to EUR75,000.

Both French Interior Minister Manuel Valls and the mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoe strongly condemned the trick of the feminists.

Special security measures have been introduced at the trial in the Paris Palace of Justice, since it is not excluded that the activists may hold one of their provocative actions in the courtroom. The proceedings themselves were described by FEMEN in their official statement as "a witch hunt in the spirit of the Catholic Inquisition."

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