Strange culture, the French.
Socialist Party leader Martine Aubry denounced “degrading images” and said France was lucky to have a law on the presumption of innocence that bars media from showing defendants in handcuffs before they are convicted.
Former Justice Minister Elisabeth Guigou, who drafted that law, called the pre-trial publicity “absolutely sickening.”
“The power of these images of a Dominique Strauss-Kahn who hasn’t been allowed to shave, tired, and not dressed properly, all that offends human dignity,” she told Europe 1 radio.
Another respected former justice minister, Robert Badinter, who pushed through the abolition of the death penalty in France, said the IMF chief had been subjected to “death by media.”
“Never forget it’s not just judges that are elected (in New York), but prosecutors. And the chief of police is elected. And clearly, in public opinion, to exhibit a powerful rich man in the presence of a victim from a very poor background, electorally, it pays off.”
Actually the police chief isn’t elected. The commissioner serves at the pleasure of the mayor. Interesting contempt for elections the French socialist justice minister is showing here. Why does he hate American democracy?
At any rate, it’s worth keeping all of this in mind the next time the French lecture us on how we treat captured terrorists at Gitmo. If they see DSK’s treatment as such a horror (while expressing absolutely no sympathy for his alleged victim), they’re likely to see pretty much anything else we do in similar terms.