“The harassment and death threats are there all the time. I never have a single moment of quiet. It’s very hard… ”White denim jacket, hair dyed green on a shaved head, Mila comes to the bar this Monday, June 21 in the evening. All day, the Paris Criminal Court reviewed the cart of sexist, homophobic insults, death threats received by the young woman in November 2020. Heard their alleged perpetrators, young people mostly aged one twenty years old, without a criminal record, socially integrated.
Almost all of them are being prosecuted for death threats and cyberstalking, for comments posted on Twitter in reaction to a video of the young woman, then aged 17, and concluding with these words: “Watch your buddy Allah. Because my fingers in her asshole, I still haven’t taken them out ”.
In January 2020, a previous video, viewed 35 million times, had sparked a heated debate and made the young Mila a public figure. Threatened with death, the high school student has since lived under police protection and can no longer attend school. “I have more and more often the impression of having lost everything”, says the one who confides having sometimes “desires to end it”, but receives neither the excuses, nor the justifications of the defendants. “You just need to have a moral to tell yourself that you are not threatening someone because what she says does not please us”, she said, adding: “I will not submit”.
“She was within her rights”
Among the thirteen defendants, nine of whom were heard on Monday, there are those who assume, and the others. Those who apologize, regretting a “bullshit”, like Enzo, 22 years old. In a blue suit at the helm, the young man, in training as a porter, today feels “bad and ashamed”. On November 15, he made a public tweet and sent two private messages to Mila: “You deserve to have your throat cut, big bitch room. And take off your chain in the process, you’re not worthy of it, dirty bitch ”. A practicing Catholic, he explains that he was “annoyed” by criticism of religions in general, but also “touched” for his Muslim friends.
Like almost all of the defendants, he explains that he reacted “hot”, but, with a notable exception, then withdrew his comments and deactivated his account. In police custody, he had made amends: “Ideas are fought with words, not otherwise (…) In fact, it was she who had the strength not to deactivate her accounts”. At the bar, he confirms and apologizes: “She was within her rights”.
This is far from obvious for some of the defendants, for whom the concepts of freedom of expression, blasphemy and racism seem ill-defined. “Freedom of expression, we were taken in the head with during the attacks! »Says Axel, 19 years old. In police custody, he explained that in his opinion, Mila should also have been prosecuted. “I searched, I analyzed,” he says today. I realized that it was blasphemy, but not racism, ”says this temporary worker, raised in a Catholic home but claiming to be an atheist. “We have at least arrived at that …”, comments Me Richard Malka, lawyer for Mila and her family.
“I answered in the same tone as she”
“Mila used her freedom of expression, and me too”, claims Alyssa on the contrary, without any remorse. A non-practicing Muslim, the young woman assumes her vulgarity: “I answered in the same tone as her”. Me Malka wants to be sure he understands: “So you are equating an insult to a God and an insult to a person? »« Yes », answers the young woman, student in second year of license« humanities ».
The same said that she did not see how the conclusion of her tweet – “let her die!” – constitutes a threat. “If I would have said (sic) : i want her to die or I’m going to kill her, yes… ”Sigh of the president:“ It’s dangerous to leave a phone in the hands of people like you ”.
In the background, the audience also raises the question of the uses of social networks, by a youth who seems not to be aware of the public nature of the comments made, and of their devastating potential. A generation which tweets faster than it thinks, sometimes without even having watched the videos in question… One of the defendants thus explains having been struck by comments that in reality, Mila never made. Me Richard Malka pointed this out to him. The young man widens his eyes: “She never said that?” “However, no regrets in the young man, who, like his co-defendants discards the system, and filigree, on Mila:” When you enter a social network, you have to accept the rules “.
The defendants face up to three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros.