French businessman starts fund to pay 'genocide' fines
French business man and political activist Rachid Nekkaz displays his cheque for one million euros to pay the fine of anyone convicted in France for denying that the killing of Armenians by Turks almost a century ago was a genocide, in front of National Assembly in Paris, Tuesday Jan. 3, 2012. AP PhotoA French businessman started a fund for 1 million euros to pay for future fines of people denying Armenian claims of genocide in France, Hürriyet reported.
Raşid Nekkaz, a French citizen of Algerian descent, offered to pay for the fines that will be inflicted on those who deny the 1915 events amounted to genocide if the motion becomes law this month by the Senate's vote.
Nekkaz said Turkey was being punished for being an Islamic country and the new law targeted Islam as well. He had previously offered to pay for fines inflicted on women wearing veils after the French law banned them to do so in public.
A Sorbonne graduate, Nekkaz made his fortune through online trade and has become one of the richest people in France. He now considers running for presidency as well.
The bill will be voted on sometime this month in the French Senate. If it passes, anyone publicly denying the Armenian claims of genocide will be sentenced to a year in prison and a 45,000 euro ($60,000) fine.