A French court on Thursday sentenced a man who slapped French President Emmanuel Macron across the face this week to a prison term of 18 months, 14 of which were suspended.
Damien Tarel, a 28-year-old medieval history enthusiast, has been in custody since the assault on Tuesday which a prosecutor called “absolutely unacceptable” and “an act of deliberate violence”.
The court gave Tarel a sentence of 18 months in jail, but 14 of those months were suspended, the broadcaster reported.
Earlier, Tarel told the court in Valence in southern France, that he acted because the president stood for all that was rotten with France, the news channel said.
Tarel said that several days ahead of Macron’s visit to the Drome region of southern France, he had thought about throwing an egg or a cream tart at the president, but added the slap was not premeditated.
“I think that Macron represents very neatly the decay of our country,” he told the court, according to BFM TV. “If I had challenged Macron to a duel at sunrise, I doubt he would have responded.”
Macron has described the attack as an isolated incident and said violence and hate were a threat to democracy. His office did not respond to a request for comment on Tarel’s courtroom remarks. Tarel faced a charge of assault against a public official, an offence which carries a maximum sentence of three years in jail and a 45,000 euro fine.