Assa Traoré acquitted in the defamation case between her and the gendarmes

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The Paris judicial court acquitted Assa Traoré on Thursday in the defamation case between the three gendarmes she accuses of having caused the death of her brother Adama in July 2016, after his arrest in Beaumont-sur -Oise, 30 kilometers north of Paris.

The militant fight of Assa Traoré to shed light on the death of his brother Adama – after his arrest – has been recognized by the courts. By releasing her in the defamation case which pits her against three gendarmes whom she accuses of having killed her brother in July 2016, the Paris court has indeed cited the “good faith” of the 36-year-old woman , who has since become a figure in the fight against police violence.

“It’s a great victory for the Traoré family and a great step forward in my brother’s fight for justice,” said Assa Traoré to AFP. “I can say that the gendarmes are responsible for the death of my little brother,” she added.

Three years after the death of Adama Traoré, his sister Assa, who has become a figure in the fight against police violence, published in July 2019 on Facebook a column entitled “J’accuse”.

In a reference to Émile Zola’s formula, she cited the names of several gendarmes and accused them in an anaphora “of having killed (his) brother Adama Traoré by crushing him with the weight of their bodies”, “of not not to have rescued “and” to have refused to dismantle (him) by asserting that he was faking “.

“I assume this letter. If the French justice in which I was supposed to trust had done the necessary work, perhaps at that time, I would not have wanted to write this letter”, she defended herself during the trial in early May.

>> To read: Police violence and defamation: Assa Traoré, an obstinate and controversial activist

In its decision, the court considers that the “remarks are indeed of a defamatory nature” but that “the criteria of good faith which the defendant relies on are met”.

For the 17th chamber of the court, “the excess of the remarks made by Assa Traoré, in a provocative tone, and the force of the accusations brought against the gendarmes even though they were neither tried nor indicted must necessarily be apprehended in the light of the circumstances of their publication and of the personal and militant fight thus carried out by the defendant “.

A decision qualified as “disappointment” and which “relates to a total incomprehension” for the lawyers of the gendarmes implicated in the forum. “The good faith of Assa Traoré, retained on an eminently political motivation to release her from the offense of defamation, absolutely does not sign the truth of her remarks”, write Sandra Chirac Kollarik and Rodolphe Bosselut, in a press release.

They said they are appealing the decision.

“Grotesque pursuits”

Lawyer of another gendarme who brought civil action in the trial, Thibault de Montbrial considered that the decision was “an accommodation towards Madame Traoré”. “From today in France, anyone who will have a personal and militant fight against the police, the institutions, the justice, will be able to say absolutely anything without incurring judicial wrath,” he lambasted.

“The prosecutions were totally grotesque and the release of Assa Traoré was essential,” for her part reacted Anna Branellec, lawyer for Assa Traoré. “The court considered that we could not put a brake on this freedom of expression of Ms. Traoré,” she said.

The two days of hearing were the occasion for Assa Traoré and the collective “La Vérité pour Adama”, created following his death, to debate the causes of death.

In July 2016, Adama Traoré, a young black man of 24, died in the Persan barracks almost two hours after his arrest in his town of Beaumont-sur-Oise, at the end of a chase one day in heat wave. Since that day, his family has been fighting to see the gendarmes on the dock.

For five years, investigating judges have been trying to determine the causes of this death, based on medical expertise whose conclusions differ on the responsibility of the gendarmes, who are not indicted at this stage.

In February, the gendarmes obtained a conviction of Assa Traoré by the Paris Court of Appeal, before which they attacked him in civil proceedings for “infringing the presumption of innocence”.

With AFP

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