Feb 25, 2015

Symbol of Civil Disobedience Fabrice Dugerdil Still Detained in French Prison in Bonneville

Two representatives of the UNPO Secretariat visited Savoy from 19 to 22 February 2015 on the occasion of a public meeting, which took place on Saturday 21 February in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains. During their visit, the representatives met with various members of the Provisional Government of the State of Savoy to acquire further information about the current situation of Mr Fabrice Dugerdil, the Savoy activist who is now serving a three month sentence in Bonneville Prison following an exercise of his right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

Mr Dugerdil’s friends and colleagues are increasingly worried about his health and the poor conditions of his detention. Despite the importance of his Gandhian initiative, his wife had pleaded with him end to his thirst strike. However, he remains adamant about continuing his hunger strike, even though his medical condition is quickly deteriorating.

On 20 February 2015, during the visit of UNPO to the region, the prison staff informed Mr Dugerdil that he will be transferred from an isolated holding cell, which he should have left at the latest eight days after his admittance to the prison, almost a month ago. For Mr Dugerdil, this transfer will mean that he will be able to interact with other detainees, visit the prison library facilities and possibly obtain a reduction of his sentence of up to three weeks, if he demonstrates the will to reintegrate into society.

In addition, Mr Dugerdil’s wife, Ms Valérie Dugerdil, finally obtained official permission to see her husband in the prison meeting room, which is scheduled to take place today [25 February 2015]. Ms Dugerdil has been struggling to obtain the visitation permit due to persistent bureaucratic complications.  Since his imprisonment, she has also been unable to obtain authorization by the prison staff to bring him any clothes or towels.

Mr Dugerdil was arrested on 28 January 2015 after participating in an unauthorized demonstration, which he was falsely accused of having organized. He was then sentenced to three months of imprisonment for refusing to pay a fine imposed on him for driving a car with a Savosian licence plate and the subsequent late penalty fees he had contracted for refusing to pay.

UNPO wholeheartedly supports Mr Dugerdil’s acts of civil disobedience and condemns the disproportionate sanction decided upon by the French authorities. The principle of nonviolence being one of the cornerstones of UNPO, the Provisional Government of the State of Savoy, and its related agency Direction aux Affaires Savoisiennes, as a Member of UNPO, have committed to resolving any differences through strictly nonviolent means.


Photo courtesy of Etat de Savoie.