Positive Response Over Graffiti Youth Concerns

French authorities have responded comprehensively and promptly to concerns expressed by the Celtic League about the circumstances surrounding the detention of a young person for alleged graffiti offences earlier this year.

The League wrote to the French Ambassador to London in early May (see link below):

https://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/3356

The youth in question is believed to have daubed nationalist slogans supporting the reunification of territories which historically were part of Brittany but which were administratively detached 70 years ago.

The full text of the response is set out below:

“EMBASSY OF FRANCE IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

INTERNATIONAL POLICE COOPERATION SERVICE

S.C.T.I. P

London, 17th May 2010

The Home Affairs Attaché office

To

Mr. J.B. MOFFATT
Celtic League
11 Cleiy Rhennee
Kirk Michael
Isle of Man
IM6 IHT

Ref.: 2010/268

Dear Sir,

We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 11th May 2010 which we have read with much attention. Actually making grafitti is an offence which is mentioned in the French penal code in article 322-I which you would find below :

ARTICLE 322-1

(Ordinance n°2000-916 of 19 September 2000 Article 3 Official Journal of 22 September 2000, in force 1 Januarv 2002)

(Act n°2002-1138 of 9 September 2002 Article 24 Official Journal of 10 September 2002)

`Destroying, defacing or damaging property belonging to other persons is punished by two years’ imprisonment and a fine of €30,000, except where only minor damage has ensued.

Drawing, without prior authorisation, inscriptions, signs or images on facades, vehicles, public highways or street furniture is punished by a fine of €3,750 and by community service where only minor damage has ensued”.

If the author of such an offence is under aged, he will be lead at the local police station. Most of the time he will not be put in custody unless what he has written is considered as death threats, incitement to racial hatred, etc.
Otherwise someone legally responsible for the youth will be called to pick him up at the station.

As far as detention conditions in police cells are concerned, new norms have been defined and a program is on the way in France for building or restoring police stations. Many cells have already been newly equipped so as to ensure the
safety of all persons in custody and to respect their dignity.

We hope to have provided answers to your questions.

Best Regards,

Laurent Talon”

The Celtic League has also raised the issue with the Council of Europe (CPT) Police and Prisons `watchdog’ (see link below):

https://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/3343

We will be forwarding copies of the reply from the French authorities.

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League

22/05/10

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