Far-right French presidential candidate Eric Zemmour has been fined €10,000 by a Paris court for hate speech, the BBC reports.
The case was launched over a TV appearance, where he described unaccompanied migrant children as “thieves”, “rapists” and “murderers”.
Former broadcaster Zemmour is known for his anti-Islam and anti-immigration views.
His lawyer said he would appeal against the court’s decision.
Reacting to the verdict on social media, Zemmour complained that his freedom of speech was being restricted, and said there was an “urgent need to drive ideology out of the courts”.
He made the comments in September 2020 on the CNews television channel, where he used to work as a pundit.
Answering a question about a recent knife attack by a young radicalised Pakistani immigrant, he said: “They have nothing to do here. They are thieves, they are murderers, they are rapists, that’s all they are. They must be sent back and they must not even come.”
At his trial in November last year, which Zemmour did not attend, prosecutors argued that his comments were “contemptuous” and “outrageous”, and that “the limits of freedom of expression have been crossed”.
Zemmour has two previous convictions for hate speech.