Catholic NGO Defamed By Government Report, Confirmed by Court

Country: France

Date of incident: June 1, 2012

Georges Fenech, the president of the interministerial mission MIVILUDES, an acronym for Mission interministérielle de vigilance et de lutte contre les dérives sectaires (Interministerial Mission for Monitoring and Combatting Cultic Deviances), appointed to this position by François Fillon in 2008 and renewed in 2011, was convicted by the Paris criminal court on June 1, 2012 for public defamation.

The defamation case originated because of a defamatory accusation published in the 2009 annual report of Miviludes, describing activities for the year 2008, implicating an association of lay Catholics - the French Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) – was a sect. Fenech was found guilty. The period of appeal has not expired yet. The 17th chamber stressed the lack of accuracy in the report's verifications as well as the lack of restraint in its expressions. The court also emphasized that a state agency such as MIVILUDES should not use vague approximations in its work. Translated and published by Human Rights Without Frontiers International on June 11, 2012. Read more: