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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 August, 2003, 13:04 GMT 14:04 UK
French militant farmer walks free
Bove's smashed door
Police snatched Bove from his home in a dawn raid
France's most famous anti-globalisation activist, Jose Bove, has been released from jail.

About 200 supporters cheered him as he left Villeneuve-les-Maguelone prison having serving just one month of a 10-month sentence.

Mr Bove was allowed to walk free after public prosecutors failed to appeal against a judge's decision, taken on Friday.

Mr Bove was arrested on 22 June in a dramatic commando-style dawn raid on his farm in southern France - involving scores of police officers - for damaging GM crops.

His sentence was trimmed by four-and-a-half months on 14 July in a presidential amnesty to mark Bastille Day.

The judge said the militant sheep farmer should now be allowed to live at home in Larzac and work on a farm which has offered to employ him - an option available to those convicted of lesser offences.

Jose Bove
Bove: A hero for anti-globalisation activists

Mr Bove has become a prominent critic of trade liberalisation and mass-produced food. He is regarded as a hero by many in France and elsewhere.

His arrest triggered outrage from opposition parties, with Socialist Party leader Francois Hollande describing it as "shocking".

Green and Communist Party officials joined the chorus of protest.

But Justice Minister Dominique Perben said Mr Bove had "categorically refused to collaborate with the justice system" and "defied justice".

Mr Bove, who leads the radical Confederation Paysanne, has received two sentences for destroying genetically modified crops.

He is also notorious for ransacking a partly-built McDonalds restaurant in Millau, near his farm, for which he spent six weeks in prison last year.

The BBC's Paul Anstiss
"He has become something of a folk hero for French farmers"

Profile: France's farm crusader
30 Jun 00  |  Europe

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