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France fines three Twitter users for ‘burn the gays’ hashtag

France fines three Twitter users for ‘burn the gays’ hashtag

Three Parisians were fined this week for inciting violence against LGBTI people on Twitter, the first time a French court has convicted for anti-gay abuse on the social network.

One was fined €300 ($348) while the other two were forced to pay €500 ($579) for using the hashtag ‘let’s burn the gays on…’ (#brûlonslesgayssurdu).

The offences were committed in 2013, the year France legalized gay marriage. That year saw a rise in homphobia and in August, the hashtag ‘Gays must die because….’ (#Lesgaysdoiventdisparaîtrecar) topped Twitter’s trending list, forcing the government to step in.

A complaint against the three unnamed Twitter users was filed by charity Comité IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia) for inciting hatred and violence on the basis of sexual orientation.

The charity welcomed the ruling.

‘It’s a significant victory,’ Alexandre Marcel, president of the Comité Idaho, told The Local.

‘But it’s a small amount to pay for calling for the death of homosexuals.’

The maximum punishment is up to a year in prison and a €45,000 fine.

Speaking after the court’s decision, lawyer Philippe Schmidt said that remarks made on Twitter should be treated the same as if they were made in any public forum.