Let's not allow Jean-Paul Delescaut to be condemned!

Let's not allow Jean-Paul Delescaut to be condemned!

Jean-Paul Delescaut, secretary general of the Union Départementale CGT du Nord, has just been sentenced to one year in prison “for advocating terrorism” and 5,000 euros in moral damages to the civil parties in the trial, including Organization of European Jews. On the other hand, he was acquitted on charges of “public incitement to hatred or violence”.

This judgment is scandalous and dangerous for democracy. Jean-Paul Delescaut is today condemned for the content of a CGT 59 leaflet distributed three days after the October 7 attacks carried out against Israel by Palestinian armed groups, including Hamas. A leaflet whose content displeased the Prefect who immediately initiated proceedings based on the circular sent at the beginning of October by the Chancellery. A circular tailor-made to intimidate those who wanted to express their solidarity with the Palestinian people and continue to denounce the Israeli occupation. The Keeper of the Seals, and with him the entire government of Emmanuel Macron, have only one goal; to pass off as an apology for terrorism any statement that seeks to contextualize and explain the attacks of October 7 instead of condemning them purely and simply. And very often, suspicions of anti-Semitism are not far away.

In doing so, the entire democratic expression of the social and political body is likely to be censored and prosecuted in court. By condemning Jean-Paul Delescaut, the Lille court took a further step in the criminalization of solidarity with occupied and colonized Palestine. By denying a union official the right to express himself as he wishes on the situation in the Gaza Strip before October 7 by twisting his words and extrapolating his intentions, the judges dealt a dangerous blow to democracy. For this, they ignored that the CGT press release 59 also paid tribute to all the civilian victims of the October 7 attacks in favor of a subjective and one-sided reading.

Of course, Jean-Paul Delescaut immediately appealed this unfair judgment and the fight for his acquittal begins now. The AFPS has already shown its solidarity through its president, Anne Tuaillon; she will continue to give him all her support until this acquittal is obtained and all charges against him are dropped.

If we let this decision stand, any words regarding the situation in Gaza or any criticism of Israeli policy will be likely to be prosecuted in court. How can we not see that this criminalization is obviously part of the liberticidal wave which today affects freedom of assembly and demonstration in France, since we want to address the question of Palestine?

Since when in this country could students not organize conferences on Palestine with whoever they want as guests?

Since when have leaders of solidarity associations or political leaders been summoned and interviewed by the police, accused of advocating terrorism or anti-Semitism?

Since when have Palestine solidarity movements been the subject of hateful publications urging those in power to dissolve them?

The intimidation, pressure and bans against activists in unions, political parties or associations in solidarity with the Palestinian people must stop.

The AFPS will participate in any unitary movement against these repressive measures in defense of our freedom of political and associative expression. Solidarity with the people of Palestine is neither a crime nor a misdemeanor! It is a duty for which no one will silence us!

We will continue to talk about Palestine and give voice to Palestinians!

The AFPS National Office, April 19, 2024