21.06.2017

Conditional sentence of a month for planting the Haitian flag on the rooftop of the courthouse

THE MAN DEFACED THE EXTERIOR OF THE BUILDING AND THREW THE FRENCH FLAG INTO THE TRASH

During the night of March 24th to 25th, M. N, a 46-year-old man, went to the Saint-Martin court-house. He threw a few chairs into the parking lot, he unhooked the speaker, and he took down the sign with the opening hours. After, he removed the French flag which he threw into the garage and then replaced by the Haitian flag. "I had been bar-hopping. I was drunk and had hit a moral low. I blamed the court-house for all my troubles,” he explained to the bar at the criminal court in Saint-Martin on Thursday, June 15th.

M.N is Haitian. In 1995, he received his first residence permit (valid for 10 years) in Guadeloupe. He arrived in Saint-Martin in 2004, a year before the permit expired, but he was not able to renew it, in part because he was not able to provide his Haitian passport. He explained that this is due to administrative delays in his home country.  He is then deported and appeals the decision in Guadeloupe. He returns to Saint-Martin after being granted subsidiary protection. "Since 2008, I only have acknowledgments (of a request for residence permit, editor's note), I was told each time that my file is complete. I would like a residence permit like before so that I can work normally and live in dignity,” he said.

Contrary to his alleged acts, M.N seems very committed to the Republican values that he says he has only found in Saint-Martin and not in any of the other French territories where he has lived. “Even if I was born in Haiti, I subscribe completely to the values of the Republic. The Republic serves the poorest and the weakest. We tend to forget that this is what France is!” he said.

The recurring mention of the "republican values" in the defendant's statement leads the Deputy Prosecutor Michaël Ohayon to impose a one-month conditional sentence, a fine, and a citizenship course considering the voluntary defacement of public property and the indignity to the French flag. The President of the Court, Gérard Egron-Reverseau, accepted the recommendations. He declared the defendant guilty and sentenced him to a one-month conditional sentence, a citizenship course, and a €300 fine for disrespecting the French flag.

Fanny Fontan
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