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Tuesday, 22 October, 2002, 17:25 GMT 18:25 UK
Bove fined for GM crop rampage
Jose Bove in Brazilian GM crop field
Bove stands by his destruction of GM crops
French radical farmer Jose Bove has been fined for destroying a field of genetically modified crops.

A court in the southern French town of Foix fined him 3,000 euros (1,900) for the April 2000 attack in the southern town of Gaudies.

His eight co-defendants were fined 400 euros (250).

The nine ransacked a trial crop of rape seed during a demonstration aimed at drawing attention to what they say are the risks posed by GM crops.

Mr Bove, a sheep farmer from near Millau in southern France, shot to national prominence after leading protesters in tearing down a partially-built local McDonald's restaurant in 1999.

The GM protest, which took place the following year, was joined by around 200 people.


(The action) contributed to raising awareness among European states

Jose Bove
Mr Bove and his co-defendants argued in court that they had been fighting for their "right to live in a healthy environment".

The use of GM crops was a totalitarian production method, they argued, which worked against organic farming and biodiversity.

Mr Bove did not attend the court hearing, but told reporters by telephone that his actions had "contributed to raising awareness among European states" about the risks of GM crops.

His earlier attack on the McDonalds restaurant earned him a three-month jail sentence, which he served earlier this year.


What's important is the condemnation of the destruction of the crops

Pierre Jouffret
Crop developer
Mr Bove still has suspended sentences of 14 months hanging over him, for earlier attacks on GM crops. The cases have gone to appeal, and are due to be judged by France's highest appeals court in November.

And he could face jail again this time, if he fails to pay his fine at a rate of 30 euros a day for 100 days, as ordered by the court.

Mr Bove said the fine was much smaller than that recommended by state prosecutors, and he would meet his lawyers on Wednesday to discuss whether to pay it.

The outcome was welcomed by Pierre Jouffret, director of Cetiom, the research organisation which was developing the crops.

"What's important is the condemnation of the destruction of the crops," he said.

See also:

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