French Court Says Helping Migrants Not Illegal

(AP) — France’s Constitutional Council has issued a decision in the case of a farmer convicted for helping migrants who entered the country illegally, saying “fraternity” is a principle “of constitutional value” and should not be prosecuted.

French activist farmer Cedric Herrou had assisted some 200 migrants, housing some in his farm in the Alps’ Roya valley and others in a disused building, while also helping them travel in France. He was convicted last year of helping migrants illegally cross the border from Italy and given a suspended four-month prison sentence and a fine.

The Council’s decision issued Friday said France’s motto of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” meant there was freedom “to assist others for a humanitarian purpose” regardless of the legality of their presence in the country.

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