11 people convicted of cyberbullying French teen who criticized Islam

11 people convicted of cyberbullying French teen who criticized Islam
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A French court convicted 11 people of cyberbullying a teen who criticized Islam on her social media accounts on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.

Eleven of the 13 defendants were convicted and sentenced to four to six months of suspended prison time and fined more than $1,700 each, according to the wire service. Each of the defendants came from various backgrounds and religions, according to AP. 

The decision was the first of its kind after France instituted a new court to prosecute online crimes.

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The teen, identified by her first name as "Mila," 18, began criticizing Islam at the age of 16 on Instagram and TikTok. Since making the posts, the teen's lawyer, Richard Malka, claimed that she received more than 100,000 serious threats including rape threats, death threats and misogynistic messages. 

During the court proceedings, Mila testified in June that she felt she was “condemned to death,” for her posts on social media, according to the AP. 

The teen spoke with the media after the verdict saying online harassers should be denied social media access and other online abuse victims should join the fight with her. 

“I was expecting worse and, honestly, we won and will win again because what I want is that, united, we will never give up. We will continue to fight,” Mila said in the AP report. 

One of the 13 defendants had his case dropped because one of his posts was directed at the teen’s Twitter account, not at her, according to the AP. 

One of the defendants’ attorneys, Juan Branco, told the newswire that symbolic trials like this are “very dangerous for the country," stating that his client was only protecting his beliefs that were being under attack by Mila’s post. 

“What I want is that those (who harass) be considered a plague and ought to be forbidden access to social networks ... those who cyberbully, who threaten with death, who deprive one of their freedom and who incite one to suicide,” Mila said, “And I never want the victims to be blamed again.”