“I helped change the law without being a legislator or a deputy. »Hervé Éon, now based in Belz, smiles softly. This activist is at the origin of the disappearance of the offense of insulting the Head of State. At the beginning of the story, there is the passage of Nicolas Sarkozy by Laval, in 2008. Hervé Éon and his comrades of the Left Party do not want to miss the opportunity to express to the Head of State what he think of his action. “I remember that a Turkish family, whom we were helping, had just been taken back to the border. We were a little bitter and I thought it was boomerang time. “
Plated against the wall by the Élysée order service
Hervé positions himself on the side of the road, awaiting the passage of the presidential car. “There was a security service that cleared the course. I was on a bicycle. Two men, probably the security of the Elysee, came towards me. I was pulled out of the way and pushed back against a wall. I asked for what reasons I couldn’t enjoy the show. And they lost interest in me a bit. Suddenly, I was able to take out the sign that was hidden under my sweater. “Hervé Éon brandishes the famous” Casse-toi pov’con “, an explicit allusion to the reaction of Nicolas Sarkozy, a few months earlier, at the Agricultural Show, as the car passes by. “One of the two security men, who was shorter than me, tried to pull my arm down. Too late, the damage was done. “Although I’m not sure Sarkozy saw the sign. The windows were smoked. “For Hervé Éon, this is the beginning of trouble. Which will not bother him that much, in the end: “It all rather amused me. The machine started up, totally disproportionately. At the time public prosecutor for Laval, Alex Perrin decided to prosecute him for insulting the head of state, an avatar of the crime of lese-majesté. “The decision was made quickly, when I was at the police station. He seemed sure of himself. “
The offense of insulting the head of state in oblivion
Sentenced to a symbolic fine of 30 euros, Hervé Éon appealed. “I made a phone call to Mélenchon, who came to support me. I then went to cassation, a necessary step before going to the European Court of Human Rights. France was condemned in March 2013, the ECHR judging that freedom of expression was violated by condemning the demonstrator. “Four months later, the National Assembly voted to repeal the offense of insulting the head of state, by removing an article from an 1881 law on freedom of the press. Insult and defamation, already applied to deputies or ministers, are extended to the head of state to replace this void.
“The European judges had found that a criminal sanction did not apply. It was not an insult, and much of the debate revolved around the absence of quotes on my entry. “More than ten years later, Hervé Éon attended the episode of the slap of Macron and the conviction of Damien Tarel by the prosecutor Alex Perrin. “I remember seeing the latter brandishing the ‘Get out of the box’ sign in the courtroom, which made people smile. I don’t regret anything, and I don’t condemn the slapping, even though I wouldn’t have used violence. But slaps, we’ve all been taking them for months, and much more violent. “
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