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French comedian sentenced for Charlie Hebdo comment on Facebook

Dieudonné faced up to 7 years in prison, 100,000 euro fine.

By Scott Smith
French comedian sentenced for Charlie Hebdo comment on Facebook
Dieudonné M'bala M'bala Photo courtesy Dieudonné Officiel Facebook page

PARIS, March 18 (UPI) -- Controversial French comedian Dieudonné was given a suspended two-month sentence Wednesday for comments he made in the wake of January's deadly terrorist attacks in Paris.

He wrote "I feel like Charlie Coulibaly" on Facebook, shortly after two attacks that killed 17 people at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket.

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Dieudonné's comment was a mashup of the French rallying cry "Je suis Charlie" with the name of the Hyper Cacher attacker, Amedy Coulibaly. That attack resulted in the deaths of a Paris policewoman and four customers in the supermarket.

The prosecutor said Dieudonné's comments cast a favorable light on Coulibaly's crimes and appeared to sympathize with him. She sought a fine of 30,000 euros ($31,955 U.S.), or an equivalent prison term.

He faced a fine of up to 100,000 euros ($106,000 U.S.) and seven years in prison.

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Dieudonné says he "condemned the attacks without any restraint and without any ambiguity."

After the sentence was announced, Dieudonné wrote "Justice is done! Amen" in French on his Facebook page, followed by an announcement of an upcoming comedy tour date.

The comedian, whose full name is Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, has drawn fire for the use of his trademark "quenelle" salute, which some say resembles a Nazi salute. Dieudonné, who has been convicted several times for inciting racial hatred, says it's just a symbol of his status as an anti-establishment figure.

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