The man who slapped French president Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday is going to prison for four months. In addition, he will receive a suspended prison sentence of fourteen months, as the court ruled on Thursday. The French public prosecutor had demanded a year and a half in prison against the man.
The 28-year-old Damien Tarel was convicted of assaulting a civil servant, with a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros. He was immediately arrested on Tuesday after the blow in Tain-l’hermitage, a small municipality south of Lyon, and has been detained ever since.
The man stood behind a barrier with a number of other people and punched Macron in the face when the politician greeted him. Before the blow, he criticized Macron’s policy.
According to the prosecutor, Tarel’s action is “absolutely unacceptable”and” an act of wilful violence”. Tarel stated in court that a few days before Macron’s visit, he considered throwing an egg or whipped cream pie at the president. He also said that the president “stands for the decline of France”. The man has no ties to political or militant groups.
In addition to Tarel, a second suspect was arrested. This man is not charged with the Macron incident, but he is charged with illegal possession of weapons. In the investigation, weapons and a copy of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf were found at his home.
The incident was condemned by all political parties in France. Macron himself spoke of an isolated incident and said that violence and hatred pose a threat to democracy. Prime Minister Jean Castex called the incident an insult to democracy.