French Court Sentences Controversial Comedian Dieudonné Mbala Mbala

Rabat – Dieudonné M’bala M’bala leaving a Paris courthouse, following a previous court appearance on Feb. 4, 2015.A Criminal Court in Paris has sentenced incendiary comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala to two years in prison for tax evasion. The comedian was suspected of diverting over a million euros in revenue from his live shows. In addition to serving time in prison, on Friday, July 5 the court ordered the 53-year-old to pay a fine of €200,000. Dieudonné’s business partner and his production company were also fined for related tax evasion.The comedian, his partner, and his lawyers were all absent during the trial.France 24 reported Dieudonné, who has a large fan base in low-income areas around major French cities, will likely fulfill his sentence through community service instead of prison time.This was not the first time the controversial comedian has been summoned to court.As early as 2006, Dieudonné was fined for defamatory comments, calling a prominent Jewish television presenter a “secret donor of the child-murdering Israeli army.” Dieudonné has since been repeatedly convicted for using provocative and anti-semetic language. The infamous comedian has been accused of publicly supporting terrorism, and referred to Holocaust commemorations as “memorial pornography.”In addition to multiple defamation lawsuits, Dieudonné was also convicted of tax evasion in 2012.Morocco has cancelled several of Dieudonné’s scheduled appearances in the past. The comedian alleged his shows were cancelled due to pressure from what he described as “community organizations.”Defending his language, Dieudonné has said he has the right to free speech and claimed he was the victim of a “Zionist Lobby.”