Page last updated at 17:15 GMT, Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Sarkozy loses 'voodoo doll' case

The Nicolas Sarkozy 'voodoo doll'

A French judge has rejected President Nicolas Sarkozy's attempt to stop sales of a "voodoo doll" in his image.

Dismissing the case, the Paris judge said the doll was "within the authorised limits of free expression and the right to humour".

Mr Sarkozy's lawyer said the president would appeal against the decision.

The doll comes with pins which users can stick into memorable quotes from the president printed on the doll, such as "work more to earn more".

Mr Sarkozy took the makers of the kit - publishing company K&B - to the courts after it went on sale on 9 October. His lawyer said Mr Sarkozy had "exclusive and absolute rights" over his own image.

Sales boost

The company refused to stop selling the kit, saying Mr Sarkozy's reaction was "totally disproportionate".

The case has attracted a fair amount of mockery in France and boosted sales of the kit, says the BBC's Alasdair Sandford in Paris.

K&B also released a similar doll of Segolene Royal, Mr Sarkozy's rival in the presidential elections last year.

She has decided not to take action against K&B, saying: "I have a sense of humour."

This is Mr Sarkozy's sixth legal action since he was elected last year, but it is the first case the courts have rejected.

Voodoo has become associated with zombies and sticking pins into dolls to curse an enemy, but practitioners say this misrepresents their religion.

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