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POLITICS

France hopes for better relations with new Italian government

France is hoping for more constructive relations with Italy's new pro-European government, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Sunday.

France hopes for better relations with new Italian government
Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

“This government appears more… determined to have positive relations with France, more open also to implementing shared migratory policies,” Le Drian told French radio stations.

“We are ready to talk about it,” he added.

Italy's new coalition between the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and centre-left Democratic Party (PD) was sworn in last Thursday.

The former coalition between Matteo Salvini's far-right League party and the M5S headed by Luigi Di Maio was hostile to Paris in its 14 months in government.

Salvini accused French President Emmanuel Macron of showing “arrogance” and “hypocrisy” on immigration matters.

Le Drian said Sunday he has written to Di Maio, his new counterpart appointed last week. “I hope we will have more constructive relations with Italy,” Le Drian said.

“Everyone sees there is a new deal, that we are no longer trading insults and posturing. We are willing to act together within the European Union,” the French minister said.

Asked about the political fate of Salvini, who caused the collapse of the previous Italian government, Le Drian said: “There are times when some politicians, as we have seen with Mr. Salvini, see themselves as stronger than they are, and they make mistakes.”

“I'm not sure (Salvini) will return to power”, he added.

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POLITICS

‘Affaire Mila’: Six convicted for harassing French teen over anti-Islam videos

A French court convicted six people on Tuesday for harassing a teen online over her anti-Islam videos in a case that sparked debate about free speech and the right to insult religions.

'Affaire Mila': Six convicted for harassing French teen over anti-Islam videos

The girl, known as Mila, was forced to change schools and accept police protection due to threats to her life after videos in which she insulted Islam went viral in January 2020 and November the same year.

The court handed sentences ranging from a three-month suspended prison term to four months with an electronic bracelet to the two men and four women, aged 19 to 39.

The six were ordered to pay damages of €3,000 ($3,200) each to Mila.

“Their conviction was necessary,” said Mila’s lawyer Richard Malka, but added that he felt no satisfaction at seeing them sentenced.

READ MORE: What is the ‘Affaire Mila’ and what does it say about France and Islam?

“My only satisfaction would be if Mila were able to lead a normal life… and that is not the case,” Malka said.

In the first viral video posted on Instagram in January 2020, Mila responded to personal abuse from a boy who she says insulted her about her sexuality “in the name of Allah”.

She launched into an expletive-laden rant against Islam along with other explicit comments about Allah deemed highly offensive to practising Muslims.

She published a second video with similar content in November of the same year, after a jihadist killing of French high-school teacher Samuel Paty, who had shown students controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Mila’s lawyer says she received over 100,000 extremely virulent messages in response to the videos, with one person writing that Mila deserved “to have her throat cut”, while others threatened sexual assault.

In July 2021, a French court convicted 11 people for harassment and handed suspended sentences, with some ordered to pay damages of 1,500 euros.

The case has received widespread public attention because it touches on hotly contested issues in France, from cyber harassment to the right to blaspheme, and attitudes to religious minorities.

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