News & Politics

Man Texts Gun Emoji and Gets Three Months in the Slammer

The French can’t seem to get a handle on their “terrorist problem” but they have zero tolerance for gun emojis.

An emoji is one of those moronic little graphics infecting contemporary written communication, like a happy face or a sad face or some tiny image conveying emotion.

The courts in France didn’t care for the emotion they thought was being expressed when 22-year-old Bilal Azougagh, from Pierelatte, sent a tiny graphic image of a gun to his ex-girlfriend in 2015. The Telegraph reports the ex-girlfriend was underage at the time — maybe that played into the sentence, although we are talking about France here.

The court in Valence in the southern Drôme département ruled that the gun-shaped character at the end of a mobile phone text message constituted a “death threat in the form of an image”, and handed the accused a six-month sentence, with three suspended.

The girl’s lawyer explained that she “no longer dared come into to town and suffered from nightmares.” The defense attorney questioned whether the tiny graphic image of a gun made “such an impact” on the girl’s mental state.

Unfortunately, “the court considered it to be a ‘real threat’, ordering Azougagh to pay €1,000 (£792) in damages on top of the prison term. According to le Journal du Dimanche, the ruling could set a legal precedent in France where there is no specific legislation on emoticons.”

One of Frances finest legal minds decided that “it came under article 222-17 of the French penal code on death threats, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a €45,000 fine.”

Chose your emojis wisely when you’re in France. Or else.