French court backs magazine over Prophet cartoons

  • World
  • Wednesday, 12 Mar 2008

MYT 1:16:16 AM

PARIS (Reuters) - A French court on Wednesday upheld a ruling in favour of a magazine that published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, rejecting an appeal by a Muslim group which said they incited hatred of Islam.

The cartoons, published in the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in February 2006, originally appeared in a Danish newspaper five months earlier.

They provoked violent protests in Asia, Africa and the Middle East in which 50 people were killed. Several European publications reprinted them as an affirmation of free speech.

"These caricatures, which clearly target a fraction and not the whole of the Muslim community, do not constitute an insult or direct personal attack against a group of people because of their religion and do not breach the limits of freedom of expression," the court in Paris ruled.

The decision was the culmination of a long legal battle over the cartoons.

A lower court ruled last year that the cartoons fell into the category of freedom of speech and did not constitute an attack on Islam in general.

(Reporting by Thierry Leveque; Writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Andrew Dobbie)

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