Cédric Herrou, an organic farmer from the Roya valley, a region on the border between Italy and France and a popular migrant route, has been branded a criminal for flouting France’s immigration laws after helping illegal immigrants cross the Franco-Italian border.
The country’s government amended the law against assisting migrants, but it remains illegal to help them cross borders.
Mr Herrou was, however, acquitted of other charges of helping migrants in France, including sheltering more than 50 Eritrean migrants in a disused SNCF holiday village.
French Farmer Cedric Herrou was fined for sneaking in hundred's of migrants to France
Nice prosecutor Jean-Michel Prêtre had asked for an eight-month suspended sentence and for Mr Herrou’s car to be “confiscated” in a bid to stop the farmer from driving France-bound migrants across the border, but his plea was dismissed.
Our role is to help people overcome danger, and the danger is this border
Mr Herrou, who said he was “satisfied” with his sentence, vowed on Friday to “continue helping migrants” and said that doing so was his “civic duty”.
During his trial last month, Mr Herrou said he would “not hesitate” to break the law to help migrants.
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Under French law, it is illegal to help migrants cross the border
He said: “Our role is to help people overcome danger, and the danger is this border.”
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During an interview with the French radio station Europe 1 hours before his sentence was announced, the unapologetic militant accused the police and Nice officials of launching a virulent witch hunt against “black immigrants” and of “dumping” illegal migrants back across the border.
Immigration remains a thorny political issue in France, with many voters worried by the influx of people fleeing war, poverty and persecution in Africa and the Middle East.
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