Prosecutions against those in solidarity with Exiles are increasing. Not only on the British border or in Paris, but also on the Italian border (see here and there).
Tomorrow, 23rd November, two people, Cédric Herrou and Pierre-Alain Manonni, go on trial for having “by direct or indirect aid, facilitated or attempted to facilitate the illegal entry, circulation or residence of a foreigner in France” (Article 622-1 of CESEDA – Code of Entry and Residence of Foreigners and Asylum Rights), which can result in 5 years imprisonment and a fine of 30,000 euros. It is the “solidarity offense” famous under the Sarkozy area. If the law of 31st December 2012 extended the exceptions for which there can be no conviction (Article 622-4 of the same law), the “solidarity offense” has never been abolished.
In addition to these two people, Claire Marsol was sentenced to a € 1,500 fine on December 18th, 2015 for taking Exiles to the station (she has appealed), Francesca Peirotti has been summoned to appear before the High Court of Nice on April 4th, 2017, and Hubert Jourdan, coordinator of the association Habitat et Citizenship, was arrested and placed in custody on 20th November 2016.
A petition “Solidarity with Citizens Solidarity with Refugees! Has been posted:
And a petition in support of Pierre-Alain Manonni:
He has published a text explaining his commitment:
“I am 45 years old and have 2 children. I am a civil servant for Education Nationale, a research Engineer in a research laboratory of the CNRS at Nice Sophia Antipolis University and a teacher at the Faculty of Sciences. I was not a political or associative activist until now.
In my family we are Corsican. I spent all my holidays in the village of Pero-Casevecchie in the house of my grandfather, the doctor of the canton who made his visits on horseback. In the village, almost 50 years after his death, people still talk about it because it was in the middle of the night at the other end of the canton, whether it be a wounded villain or a peasant who didn’t have enough to pay . . In the stories told to me by my father and in the experiences I lived there, I learned and understood that one does not leave anyone in danger on the roadside, first because it is the mountain but also because it is a question of dignity. Or honor as they say.
I am lucky to have children and as a father with shared custody, I took this very risky task very seriously . Not easy because today the world is going badly whether it is from a social or environmental point of view so beyond a “good situation”, what I wish for my children is that they are part of a ” Hope for a better world”.
On Sunday the 16th of October, returning by car from the the sheep festival at La Brigue with my 12 year old daughter, we rescued 4 young people from Darfur. La Brigue is a French village in the valley of the Roya which borders Ventimiglia in Italy. It is in this valley that men but especially women and children who are called migrants, on these mountain toads are regularly rescued. These 4 young people were completely lost and were walking on foot, some in thongs, towards snowy mountains. With my daughter we brought them back to Nice, they ate and slept with us in my 40m2 apartment. The next day as every day of school we got up at 6:15. They came with me to drop my daughter to school and then I dropped them off at a small station that had few Police and I bought them a train ticket for the first part of their journey. They had to find their family in Marseilles.
It was my first action to help these “migrants”. Why did I do it that day? Until then with my children I had donated clothes to the Red Cross in Ventimiglia, shoes, a backpack, to help but also to show them that there are injustices in the world and that each one of us can do something … This was the second time I saw a group on the side of the road. The first time I had hesitated, I did not not have the courage, but this time there was my daughter and I could set an example.
The next day, Monday, October 17th, after an evening with friends in this same valley, on the return to Nice, I decide to stop in this camp for migrant in St Dalmas de Tende, a disused building for holiday camps of the SNCF Which was opened urgently a few hours before, without authorization, by a group of associations including the Ligue de Droits de L’homme, Amnesty International and a bunch of national and local associations. The opening of this place was the subject of a communiqué of these associations in the media. I knew that my return to Nice would be an opportunity to get some out of this place with no water or electricity and where the temperature in the middle of the night would not exceed 10 degrees. I decide to take them home and drop them off at the station the next day.
These were 3 girls we just picked up from upstairs . They were happy with my proposal told me because they are expected by an association in Marseille to be treated. When I saw them my heart wept. They were afraid, they were cold, they were exhausted, they had bandages on their hands, their legs, one of them limped making grimaces of pain and the other could not carry her bag with her wounded hand. I would later learn that one of them is the cousin of the girl killed on the motorway to Menton a few weeks before.
They do not speak French or English. We have to walk a hundred meters to reach my car and it takes a very long time because one walks with great difficulty. I take this opportunity to try to find out what country they are from. Eritrea. Once in the car, I noticed that they never used a seat belt. I am in the embarrassment of approaching them as they are afraid to put on their seatbelts. They are not afraid of me but in their eyes I read that they know nothing has been won. You don’t have to be a genius to understand that along the 6000 km they have made to arrive here, they have frequented death and a procession of horrors that one dare not imagine. I set off with these girls I have to take care of and that I have to bring to safe harbor. I turn off the radio, the situation is incredible enough.
We would not get to Nice. At the toll of the Turbie the gendarmes stop us and take us to the Border Police. They separated me from the Eritreans. It is not clear what they did with them but I do not think they were treated for their wounds. They would have been sent back to southern Italy, as is often the case. The police told me that at least one of them was a minor. I had not managed to protect them.
After 36 hours in custody, I was released under judicial supervision. My car was seized as well as my phone and I was not allowed to leave Nice except to take my kids to school but there was no public transport unless they woke up at 5.30am. My trial has been postponed to a later date on the same date as that of Cédric Herrou, a member of humanitarian associations that rescue people at risk in the Roya Valley and who is also being prosecuted for helping foreigners
The day after my release, when, by strange fate , I found myself rescuing a road accident who was losing his blood not far from my place, a “young migrant” who had been killed hit by a car on the highway In Menton, he had been projected over the parapet of the viaduct and had fallen of several tens of meters. Came from the other end of the world, lost on the motorway and died 20 km from my home.
My gesture is neither political nor militant, it is merely human and any ordinary citizen could have done it and it is for the honor of our country, our dignity as free men, for our values, Our beliefs, out of love or compassion we must not let victims die before our doors. History and current events show us enough that discrimination leads to the greatest horrors and so that history does not repeat itself, we must value solidarity and educate our children by example.
Pierre-Alain Mannoni »
for more information :
Facebook Roya citoyenne : https://www.facebook.com/royacitoyenne/?fref=ts
Blog Résistances en Roya : http://roya06.unblog.fr/
Blog Association pour la Démocratie à Nice : http://ademonice06.com/
Site Habitat et Citoyenneté : http://www.habitatetcitoyennete.fr/
La Roya, November 15 2016.