French court jails far-right activists for anti-migrant Alpine expedition

Three members of Generation Identity were given six month prison sentences

(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 21, 2018 activists from the French far-right political movement Generation Identitaire (GI) and European anti-migrant group Defend Europe conduct an operation titled "Mission Alpes" to control access of migrants using the Col de l'Echelle mountain pass in Nevache, near Briancon, on the French-Italian border. Three activists of Identity Generation (GI) received a six-month prison sentence on August 29, 2019 at Gap Courthouse for their action against migrants at the Col de l'Echelle mountain pass, a crossing point in the French Alps. / AFP / ROMAIN LAFABREGUE
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A court in France has jailed three far-right activists involved in a stunt in the Alps, which saw them erect a giant banner in the snow telling migrants to “go back to your homeland”.

Three members of the group Generation Identity were ordered to serve six months in prison for their part in organising an Alpine expedition to stop migrants crossing into France from Italy through a mountain pass last year.

The group’s president Clement Gandelin, spokesman Romain Espino and member Damien Lefevre, were also deprived of their civic rights, notably not being able to vote in elections, for five years.

The three were handed the unusual charge of “exercising activities in conditions that could create confusion with a public function”.

Prosecutors alleged their stunt could have been mistaken for a police manoeuvre.

Generation Identity, a pan-European group which claims to have supporters in France, Germany, the UK, Italy and Austria, was handed a fine of 75,000 euros (Dh304,000).

Lefevre described the ruling on Twitter as a “political decision” adding that it was “an honour, a medal, but shows the determination to suppress those who defend France".