AP, March 23, 2007
A French court cleared a satirical weekly newspaper yesterday in a case brought by Muslims angered by its publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
The newspaper Charlie-Hebdo and its director, Philippe Val, were accused of “publicly abusing a group of people because of their religion.”
Val had risked a six-month prison sentence and a fine equivalent to $34,000.
The case drew massive attention from politicians and the media in France, which has Western Europe’s largest Muslim population—five-million people—and a deep commitment to secularism and free speech.
Lhaj Thami Breze of the fundamentalist Union of Islamic Organizations of France, one of the groups that brought the suit, said he would appeal the decision.