BELFAST — OSCE Minsk Group cco-chairing ountries Russia, USA and France, issued...
Armenian Genocide Bill Sponsor in France Reports Death Threats
PARIS — The main author of a French bill criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide claimed to have received death threats after her website was apparently hacked by angry Turkish nationalists on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the leader of the Socialist majority in the French Senate reportedly demanded that President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government submit the bill to the upper house of parliament “as soon as possible.”
Valerie Boyer, a deputy from Sarkozy’s Union for the Popular Movement (UMP) party, was the main sponsor of the measure approved by the National Assembly and strongly condemned by the Turkish government late last week.
Boyer told the BFMTV station that she, her children and parents have received “extremely grave” threats since then. “It’s totally paradoxical to be the author and the rapporteur of a text which speaks of human rights, human dignity, recognition and protection of the weak, and legislate under threat, be threatened by a foreign state and then be subjected to extremely grave personal threats,” she said.
“Death threats, threats of rape and threats of destruction, name-calling and insults. I find this very shocking.”
Boyer added that she will lodge a “complaint” with relevant French authorities but is undaunted by the threats. “This process can only strengthen us in both our beliefs and our resolve,” she said.
The lawmaker, who is also the deputy head of French parliamentary caucus promoting ties with Armenia, spoke to the French news channel following a hacker attack on her website.
Visitors to www.valerie-boyer.fr were automatically redirected on Sunday to another website purportedly owned by a Turkish hacker group presenting itself as GrayHatz. It displayed the Turkish national flag and contained a message to the French government and France’s 500,000-strong Armenian community.
“You, the diaspora Armenians, are such cowards that you don’t have guts to open up the Armenian archives and face the truth,” read the message posted in Turkish and English. “You, the French people, are so pitiful and pathetic that you are disregarding the truths for votes.”
The latter accusation was in tune with the Turkish government’s claims that Sarkozy engineered the bill’s passage to gain the support of French-Armenian voters in next year’s presidential election. Ankara has also denounced the legislation as an infringement of freedom of speech and academic debate.
“Freedom of speech and state propaganda are very different things,” Boyer told the French lower house last Thursday in a clear reference to Turkey’s vehement denial of a government policy to annihilate the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during World War One.
The Paris-based Armenews.com news service reported on Monday that the Senate majority leader, Francois Rebsamen, has demanded that the government include it on the Senate agenda “as soon as possible.”
“Even if this text carries electoral suspicions, nothing would be worse today than to bury it, thereby creating misunderstanding and disappointment of the Armenian community, having raised the indignation and anger of the Turkish community,” Rebsamen said in a statement.