Europe

French farmer Cedric Herrou fined for helping migrants

French farmer Cedric Herrou waves as he arrives for his trial at the court of Nice, south-eastern France, on January 4, 2017 for allegedly assisting migrants to enter and remain illegally in France Image copyright AFP
Image caption Cedric Herrou has helped house dozens of migrants, including teenagers, on his farm

A French farmer has been convicted and given a suspended €3,000 (£2,500; $3,200) fine for helping migrants cross the French-Italian border.

Cedric Herrou has housed dozens of migrants in caravans on his farm in the Roya valley, in south-east France.

He has been hailed by supporters as a humanitarian and has vowed to continue helping migrants, which he characterises as a civic duty.

Immigration is a key issue ahead of elections in April and May.

The Nice prosecutor had asked for an eight-month suspended sentence.

Mr Herrou, 37, has become a symbol of ordinary Europeans who have taken action to aid migrants fleeing war or poverty in the Middle East and Africa.

During his trial last month he said he had taken action because "there are people who have a problem".

"There are people who have died on the highway, there are families that are suffering, and there is a state which has put borders in place and has absolutely no control over the consequences," the Le Monde newspaper quoted him as saying.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Supporters gathered to support Mr Herrou when he went on trial in January

The farmer continues to house teenagers from Sudan and Eritrea on his property, reports say.

Mr Herrou was acquitted of other charges, including one related to placing 50 Eritreans in a disused holiday resort owned by state rail company SNCF.

There have been several similar cases in southern French courts, the AFP news agency says.

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