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Africa

Man sentenced for bomb threats on cinemas showing Algeria film

media Demonstrators protest against Hors La Loi during a screening at a cinema … Reuters

A pensioner was given a one-month suspended prison sentence and fined 3,000 euros for making bomb threats against cinemas that were showing a controversial film about the Algerian War. 68-year-old Bernard Salkin admitted to having made anonymous calls with the threats, claiming to be a member of the far-right Charles Martel group.

An anonymous call was made to a media outlet on 22 September making the threats against cinemas that were showing Hors la loi (Outside of the law), which depicts French troops massacring Algerian soldiers at Sétif in 1945. 

A team of three branches of the police worked on the case to determine the origin of the call. Salkin was arrested near his home in Saint-Raphaël on Wednesday. He admitted in custody to the crime and said that he had acted because he wanted the film to be banned.

Salkin’s lawyer described him as "a depressive pensioner with too much time on his hands who believed it was an act of courage”.
 

The Charles Martel group, which took its name from the Franc who pushed back the Arabs to Poitiers in 732, was responsible for some 20 bombings between 1973 and 1991. Its targets were Algerians or Algerian interests in France. Salkin told the court everything he knew about the group came from the radio and television.

Rachid Bouchareb’s film came out last week, prompting several demonstrations. It also caused a stir when it was presented at the Cannes film festival in May. Several groups protested outside the cinema when it was shown, accusing the director of falsifying history.

The prosecutor said there are "certain people who ride on the wave of terror” and demanded an 18-month sentence.

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