Cédric Herrou, a 37-year-old farmer from Breil-sur-Roya, France, was convicted of facilitating the entry of migrants from Italy to France and of having hosted a few dozen of them, both in his house and in an abandoned SNCF (French railway corporation) holiday center.
He was sentenced to a €3,000 fine and probation. The prosecutor had sought eight months’ imprisonment (a suspended sentence and probation). He had appeared before a Nice court on Jan. 4, and on Jan. 18, he was placed in custody for 36 hours.
“I will continue,” Herrou said Friday, relieved about the light sentence. In January, after his arrest, he had declared: “I will remain faithful to my beliefs. My France will continue to defend the rights of men, women and children present on French soil, in the name of the values that anchor the Republic.”
Herrou has become a symbol of welcoming. Several humanitarian associations (from Emmaus to the Secours Catholique, SOS Racisme and the Union Juive pour la paix) have recently signed a manifesto against the “crime of solidarity” he was accused of. Amnesty International said Friday that “there is no right to send migrants back to Italy. There are rules in France and in Europe that oblige the authorities to verify the identity of migrants, and if they are minors, they cannot be expelled.”