13:46 GMT06 August 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday backed the pro-Palestinian activists who were convicted in France for "incitement to discrimination" over their calls to boycott products imported from Israel and ruled that the conviction violated their freedom of expression.

    "The Court considered that the applicants’ conviction had lacked any relevant or sufficient grounds. It was not [established] that the domestic court had applied rules in keeping with the principles set out in [of the European Convention on Human Rights, providing the right to freedom of expression] or had conducted an appropriate assessment of the facts", the ECHR statement read.

    However, the French judiciary had not violated Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which implies that a person should not be held accountable for an offence if it was not considered an offence under national law when it was committed, the ECHR also said.

    The court ruled that France must pay to each campaigner "380 euros [$431] for pecuniary damage, 7,000 euros for non-pecuniary damage" and a total of 20,000 euros jointly to the applicants "for costs and expenses".

    The Israeli government has argued that the BDS campaign, sponsored by Palestinian non-governmental organisations, is driven by anti-semitism. In 2017, Israel passed a law that allows it to refuse entry to foreign supporters of the movement.

    Eleven members of the Collectif Palestine 68 group, which is a French branch of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, were accused over two campaigns held in 2009 and 2010 in a supermarket located in eastern France. They urged customers to not buy goods of Israeli origin and called on the store to stop selling them. The activists were accused of inciting anti-semitism and racism by a French court in 2015 and ordered to pay thousands of euros in fines.

    conviction, human rights, France, Europe
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