tuesday, 4 february of 2014

Cat-throwing Frenchman gets year in prison

Animal cruelty

Cat-throwing Frenchman gets year in prison

A Frenchman who sparked widespread outrage after posting a video online showing him hurling a kitten high into a block of flats has been sentenced to a year in prison for animal cruelty.

Farid Ghilas, 24, from Marseille, southern France, was arrested after the video was posted of him throwing the white-and-ginger kitten named Oscar as far as he could through a housing estate.

Five-month-old Oscar, shown mewling and traumatised in the video, survived the ordeal but was left with a broken leg and is currently receiving treatment.

“He acted with a singular perversity and sadism that has shocked the entire planet,” said Emmanuel Merlin, the prosecutor.

“We were walking in the street. I saw the cat, he came towards me and I did it without thinking. I don’t know whose idea it was to film it,” Mr Ghilas told the court, who said he “regretted” his act.

Some 200 animal rights activists gathered outside the court for the hearing.

A petition signed by some 260,000 animal lovers calling for the man to receive “exemplary punishment” was sent to Christiane Taubira, France’s justice minister, and Manuel Valls, the interior minister.

In the petition, the ministers are urged to “establish a radical law against barbarity to animals, and to severely punish those who torture innocent animals”.

He was sentenced on charges of “acts of cruelty against a domestic and tame animal”, an offence that carries a maximum prison term of two years and a EURO 30,000 fine.

The Brigitte Bardot Foundation, an animal rights foundation founded by the former actress and singer, had filed for charges against the suspect, saying it had spotted such acts of animal torture abroad but not in France.

“Lots of people were very affected by these images. The impact - justified - of this video is very strong,” Christophe Marie, spokesman for the Brigitte Bardot Foundation told BFMTV.

The Foundation said it was concerned in general about the “tribune offered by social media” for such cruel behaviour.

But it condemned the torrent of racist abuse against Mr Ghilas, who is of North African origin, on his Facebook page. Angry commentators posted his address online and issued death threats.

After an outpouring of national concern over Oscar’s welfare, he was finally tracked down on Sunday.

(Published by Telegraph – February 3, 2014)

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