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Mila case: suspended prison sentence for 11 internet users, including if they only published a tweet

Internet users who attack Mila have been sentenced to several months in prison, even though they have only published one tweet against her.

It is undoubtedly not yet the end of the “Mila affair”, but the conviction, on July 7, 2021, of eleven people who participated in the cyberbullying of the teenager is an important step in the digital ordeal she is going through. since early 2020. It is also a warning to those who intend to attack her: justice can condemn you, even for a tweet.

Recall of facts. “The Mila affair” is the name given to a media and legal case linked to a French teenager, Mila, since January 2020. It starts shortly after the release of a video on Instagram in which she attacks Islam , with sometimes very harsh words. The video goes viral and, very quickly, Internet users fall on him, insulting him and promising him the worst abuse.

It is from there that the daily life of the teenager changes: more than 50,000 hate messages against her are recorded in early 2021. She is a time out of school from her establishment and must live under police protection due to threats of dead hovering over her. The outings to which she is entitled are limited and planned in advance and the young woman is forced to be careful on social networks.

Conditional sentence for harassment

It is in this context that suspended sentences were handed down on July 7 by the Paris court, after two days of trial. The penalties range from four to six months in prison. Thirteen defendants in total went to justice, but two of them escaped a sentence, the first for a procedural flaw which gave him the benefit of a dismissal, and the second having been released.

These suspended sentences may seem relatively lenient given the threats that have weighed on Mila for more than a year and a half. However, they also take into account the extent of the cyberstalking suffered by the young woman: in fact, out of the eleven convicted, ten were sentenced to terms of several months in prison for having sent only one message. on Twitter.

For these ten defendants, it is the reason for the harassment that was retained. This offense appears in the penal code in article 222-33-2-2. It provides for maximum penalties of up to two years in prison and a fine of 30,000 euros when this harassment occurs via the Internet – these penalties are likely to increase to three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros in certain cases. .

Twitter
Even a single tweet can be considered harassment. // EFF

Harassment is also constituted when the incriminated words or behaviors ” are imposed on the same victim by several people, in concert or at the instigation of one of them, even though each of these people has not acted repeatedly ”(In this case, a single tweet). It is also characterized even in the absence of consultation, if the persons’ sadvent that these words or behaviors characterize a repetition “.

These convictions, which the defendants sought to escape while admitting to being the authors of the disputed tweets, take into account the fact that they could not ignore Mila’s situation at the time they posted on social media. Indeed, these eleven Internet users attacked her when she published a second video criticizing Islam with virulence, in November 2020, ten months after the facts.

Given the impact of the “Mila affair” in January 2020, when the first video was published, it proved difficult to pretend ignorance about the troubles encountered by the teenager. A few convictions had also already taken place, including immediate appearance, for death threats. A 23-year-old man was even sentenced to prison.

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