Prison for Mosque offence, fine for Church
Eloïse Bouton, 31, a FEMEN member, went topless inside the Catholic Madeleine Church in Paris just before Christmas 2013. She simulated an act of abortion by pushing out an inserted calf’s liver from her vagina, symbolically representing a human fetus. Bouton then started urinating on the Church altar’s steps.
She is now facing a three to four months of suspended sentence and being fined $2,000 for imitating graphic abortion in a Church.
Bouton, who quit Femen right after the incident, appeared in court to face trial for her “indecent exposure and public urination” on Wednesday. Her lawyer insists that what his defendant did was a political protest and not an act of public exhibition, and asked for the international law on “freedom of expression” to be applied in this case.
On the contrary French justice has been tougher on offenders in a mosque.
A group which placed a pig’s head outside a mosque in the French overseas territory of Mayotte in January saw its members convicted of “incitement to hatred, violence or discrimination because of religious affiliation.” They were given 9 months of prison sentences.
The act caused outrage among Mayotte’s population, 95 percent of whom are Muslim.
The difference in verdicts for similar acts in Churches and Mosques is explained by political reasons, believes Frederic Pichon, president of the association of free lawyers.
“It was a special case because it took place in Mayotte, where 95 percent of the population are Muslims, so I think this aspect of the case had an influence on the decision that has been made,”