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FRANCE: Activist Jose Bov Gets Suspended Sentence

Agence France Presse
March 15th, 2001

French anti-globalization activist Jose Bov on Thursday was sentenced to a 10-month suspended prison term for the destruction in 1999 of genetically altered rice plants.

A court in this southern French town also placed Bov on two years' probation.

Bov , who gained worldwide notoriety after ransacking a McDonald's restaurant in France, appeared unphased after his sentencing and vowed to continue his anti-globalization campaign.

"The fight continues," he said. "No prison sentence or fine is going to prevent us from saying that genetically modified (GM) crops are dangerous."

He said he planned to appeal the sentence which was below the three-month prison term requested by the prosecution.

No prison sentence or fine is going to prevent us from saying that genetically modified (GM) crops are dangerous.

---Jose Bov

Two co-defendants from Bov's radical Peasant Confederation (CP) farmers' union were also given suspended prison terms. The court in addition ordered the three accused to pay 340,000 francs (51,800 euros, 48,500 dollars) in fines and damages.

The trio were charged after destroying 3,000 genetically modified rice plants at an international research lab in Montpellier in June 1999.

During the trial last month, they all admitted destroying the crops in what Bov described as "a battle for the future."

The 48-year-old sheep farmer later this month is to due to appear in court again for ransacking a McDonald's outlet in the southern town of Millau in a protest against trade sanctions.

Last month, he asked a court to overturn a three-month prison sentence imposed against him in the case and a ruling is expected March 22.

He also faces charges for briefly holding three civil servants captive in an administrative building during a protest in Rodez, southern France, in 1999.

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