M’jid El Guerrab, a French deputy of Moroccan origin, has taken legal action in France to prosecute the authors of the “insulting” and “discriminatory” remarks against Africa and Africans on the channel LCI.
On Wednesday, two French doctors, Jean-Paul Mira of the Cochin Hospital in Paris and Camille Locht of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), had proposed to carry out vaccine tests against the Coronavirus “in Africa, where there are no masks, no treatment, no resuscitation” and where people are “highly exposed”.
Faced with these shocking remarks, M’jid El Guerrab, deputy of the 9th constituency of French citizens living abroad, in his role as deputy of the nation, elected in the Maghreb and West Africa, through his counsel Michaël Bendavid and Margaux Durand-Poincloux, referred the matter to the public prosecutor of Paris, on the basis of Article 40 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, “for the purpose of pursuing these shocking remarks”.
The message of these remarks is “clear”: “let us test on Africans and if no tragedy occurs, let us distribute to Europeans”. “This is an invitation, even an exhortation, to a differentiated treatment according to origin,” the French deputy of Moroccan origin, in a statement sent to MAP. “Such a message is not only morally intolerable, it is a crime punishable by law,” he adds.
The comments made on LCI “are both abusive and discriminatory, and characterize two racially motivated offenses under the July 29, 1881 law on freedom of the press,” said M’Jid El Guerrab. The first offence is a serious public insult to people because of their origin, in this case the African population. “The remarks in question do indeed contain ‘terms of disrespect’ towards this population,” he explains.
“The nature of testing medical products is to identify possible risks associated with them. It is showing disregard for the African population to assert that they should bear these risks as a priority – a fortiori on the excuse that the people concerned are already in a situation of increased health risk due to lack of means,” the French MP is outraged.
The second criminal offense involves “inciting discrimination against the same group of people (Article 23 of the law), since the statements call for the people tested to be determined according to a key criterion: their geographical origin”, continues M’Jid El Guerrab, for whom “these statements are all the more shocking and unwelcome since at this time Africa is still relatively spared by the pandemic, unlike Europe, which is its epicentre”.