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Well-known French Activist Sentenced for “Defamation” of a Police Officer

Assa Traoré was sentenced for “defamation” against a police officer who accused her of lying during the investigation into her brother’s Adama’s death in 2016. The Traoré family continues to suffer judicial harassment for its fight against police violence.

Erell Bleuen

April 8, 2023
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Kenzo Tribouillard, AFP (file photo)

Adama Traoré was murdered in police custody in 2016 on his 24th birthday. Seven years later, the judicial harassment of his family continues. On Wednesday, April 5, Assa Traoré, Adama’s sister and a figure in the fight against police violence, was sentenced by the Paris Court of Appeal for defamation against a police officer. She was accused of lying in the investigation into the death of her brother.

After being accused of “defamation” by four police officers involved in her brother’s death, she was released by the Administrative Court of Paris in July 2021. However, the Court of Appeal upheld a “civil fault” against one of the four officers and she was sentenced to pay him 5,000 euros (US$5,500) in damages and 4,000 euros in lawyers’ fees. The complaints of the other three officers, who had also appealed, were rejected.

This outrageous decision is part of the judicial harassment suffered by the Traoré family for their seven-year-long fight to obtain truth and justice for Adama. While the police officers who murdered him have never been convicted despite the evidence revealed by independent investigations, Adama and Assa’s brother, Bagui Traoré, has been imprisoned, Assa is under a series of indictments, and the supporters of the Committee for Justice and Truth for Adama are being prosecuted.

This news is further testimony to the impunity enjoyed by the police. At a time when mass mobilizations are being brutally repressed and when the Minister of the Interior accuses those who criticize this situation of “intellectual terrorism”, thus threatening organizations like the League of Human Rights, the condemnation of Assa Traoré is part of the attacks suffered by all those who denounce police violence.

Against judicial harassment, we must continue to demand Truth and Justice for Adama and all victims of police violence and to strongly support Assa Traoré against this harassment, demanding all charges against her and her family be dropped.

First published in French on April 6 in Révolution Permanente.

Translation by Stacey Bear

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