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Letter sent to the Prime Minister by CAP LC
Jean Pierre Brard

March 2009


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Translation of the Letter sent to the Prime Minister by CAP LC

Dear Sir,

The association CAP Freedom of Conscience stands for members of religious minorities and individuals supporting freedom of conscience.

We would like to draw to your attention the behaviour of one member of the Miviludes, a body placed under your authority.

Many of our members were shocked by the recent statements of MP Jean-Pierre Brard (1), a member of the Council of Orientation of the Miviludes. Indeed, during the TV show of February 11, 2009, Enquête confidentielle, broadcast on channel W9, M. Jean-Pierre Brard went a far way out of what is expected from a representative of an official body, telling biased and disrespectful words, deeply rooted in his personal iedology : « when you are glued in the cult, then at this very moment, constraint starts … » and he went on :« once you are in the jar ».

Mr Brard induces fear regarding Jehovah Witnesses and bloods transfusions, regardless of the statement made in 2006 in front of the inquiry commission of which he was the Secretary, by Mr. Didier Leschi, Head of the Central Bureau of Cults : « to prepare this hearing, I asked the prefectures [Translator’s note: regional government authority] to count the number of incidents linked to blood transfusions over the past three years. A few incidents came to light, which were often resolved through discussion. No incident involving children or lives considered at risk condition was noted. »

Mr Brard is well known for his « extremist laicity » which was repeatedly sentenced by courts.

On November 20, 2008, he appeared in front of the criminal court of Bobigny. The facts occurred on November 8, 2006, when Mr Brard, then mayor of Montreuil, refused a member of the city council, Mrs Vayssière, to speak, during the budget discussion by the council. He justified this refusal by the fact that Mrs Vayssière was wearing a cross around her neck.

Mrs Vayssière filed a complaint for « refusing the benefit of a right by a person in charge of a public service mission because of religion » (a discrimination punished by article 432-7 of the criminal code).

According to the prosecutor, Mr Brard « let himself go to give his personal beliefs a reach that they could not have according to the law » and « deprived his fellow citizen of exercising her religious freedom ».

Found guilty, he was sentenced to a fine of 1,500 euros and 5,000 euros penalty. The 14th chamber of the Court considered that the former mayor of Montreuil did make « a confusion between the principle of neutrality demanded in public services and the non-neutrality of a city council where everybody should have the right to speak up ».

On July1, 2005, the administrative court of Cergy-Pontoise canceled a city decree by Mr Brard forbidding the fashion show « fashion for Muslim women » organized by Cyl Jasmeen. In addition to this cancellation, Mr Brard was sentenced to paying 750 euros for expenses paid by this company.

On February 6, 2005, Mr Brard rushed into an evangelical church in the city of Montreuil during the religious service. At the time, the mayor declared that it was about a security control.

This affair scandalized the Protestant Federation of France and Mr De Clermont, then president, stated : « Evangelical Protestantism and Islam are today victims of the same will of a certain number of officials to have in front of them some « religiously correct”. Protestantism appreciates to be in a country where freedom of worship is on the whole respected, but specific threats are hanging over this freedom today. ».

Jean-Pierre Brard was sentenced for libel on a complaint by Jehovah Witnesses by the Appeal court of Versailles on December 18, 2002. He was also sentenced for libel against members of Mandarom in 2003.

On November 4, 2008, he verbally took it out on two eminent members of the Conseil Constitutionnel, reporting extremely serious insinuations about them, during a session in the National Assembly.

Mr Brard had just claimed that « sects » « sometimes receive the support of highlighters, spokespersons and defenders in a high position, enjoying networks within the State system. »

« I think especially of attorney de Guillenschmidt, lawyer in Paris, a fierce defender of the organization of Jehovah Witnesses, co-founder of the Network for Advancement of Transfusion Alternatives and of its french branch, NATA France », he said. « How could we imagine that Mrs (Jacqueline) de Guillenschmidt, an influent member of Conseil constitutionnel, was completely estranged to her husband’s beliefs, attorney de Guillenschmidt, when she acted as rapporteur of the election case of our former colleague Georges Fenech, a procedure which lead to the invalidation of his election and his ineligibility », Mr Brard accused.

He then questioned the impartiality of Law Professor Jacques Robert, a former member of Conseil constitutionnel.

He was called to order by Mr Accoyer, president of the National Assembly, who said : « It doesn’t seem acceptable to me to abuse of this [parliamentary] immunity. This is intended to guarantee freedom of speech (...) and not to make statements against which the victims cannot use their rights ».

Statements by Jean-Pierre Brard against new religious movements are fueling a climate of intolerance and discrimination.

This was criticized by Mr Leschi, then Head of the Central Bureau of Cults, during the latest parliamentary enquiry Commission regarding minors in October 2006. He said that this kind of statements could indeed lead to « troubles to public order, or at least manifestations of intolerance regarding one of the most fundamental freedoms of any human being and any citizen: freedom of conscience ».

Let us recall that the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of religion and belief, Mrs Asma Jahangir, worried about this climate of intolerance, requesting in her report of March 2006 to "stop stigmatizing members of some religious groups or communities, including groups of which members never committed an offense according to the French law" and advising that "actions of Miviludes to come should go in the direction of freedom of belief and religion and avoid past mistakes".

The above facts prove that Mr Brard failed by far in his duty of reserve, not only during this show, but also repeatedly over years. For this reason, we request, Mr Prime Minister, that Mr Jean-Pierre Brard be expelled from the Orientation Council of the Miviludes.

Thanking you in advance for the interest you will grant to this letter,

Respectfully yours
Thierry Becourt

(1) JP Brard, a communist member of Parliament, has been convicted of slander against religious groups several times in court. He joined the French communist Party in 1956, the year of Budapest tanks. He is also a member of the MIVILUDES (French governmental committee of watch and fight against sectarian practices).

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