On the night of October 17 to 18, the fences of a construction site opposite the Bourges National School of Art (ENSA) were covered with graffiti evoking the conflict, which had broken out ten days earlier, between the Hamas and Israel. The tags appeared a few hours after the explosion at Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza, for which the Israeli army was initially singled out. According to an analysis of World dating from November 3, the trajectory and speed of a salvo of Palestinian rockets would be compatible with the explosion, a lead favored by French intelligence.
On one of the metal panels was a drawing of a plane adorned with a Star of David bombing a hospital. On others, one could read the inscriptions “Stop the genocide against the Palestinians!” » And “Down with Zionism!” » On one last appeared a Star of David, a swastika and, between the two, the mathematical equal sign. By 9 a.m., the entries had been deleted. Learning a few days later that their author was a student at his school, the director of ENSA, Jeanne Gailhoustet, was “fell out of the cupboard. I didn’t imagine at all that it could come from us.”
On October 30, a search was carried out in the apartment where Xilong C. lives in a shared apartment, in Bourges. This 26-year-old Chinese student, found thanks, in particular, to video surveillance, is enrolled in the fifth and final year at ENSA, which he joined in 2020. He is supposed to defend his master’s thesis in February and graduate from school in June.
Xilong C. was in Paris during the search. Informed by his roommates that the police were looking for him, he contacted a lawyer then, on November 2, the police, with whom an appointment was made for the 13th. That day, Xilong C. showed up at the police station and was taken into custody for “advocating terrorism”. The Bourges public prosecutor’s office decided to dismiss it, because this offense was not “not sufficiently characterizedexplains prosecutor Céline Visiedo. Which is not to say that other offenses are not. It is not excluded that he will be prosecuted, for example, for provoking hatred because of belonging to the nation.”
If the prosecution has not yet done so, it is because an administrative procedure has been initiated by the Cher prefecture, a procedure to which the Bourges prosecutor has chosen to ” leave room “. On November 13, the prefecture, in fact, notified Xilong C. of the withdrawal of his residence permit, an obligation to leave French territory (OQTF), accompanied by a ban on returning there for three years, and his placement in an administrative detention center (CRA) while awaiting page before the administrative court responsible for validating or not this OQTF. Xilong C. thus became one of the “one hundred and twenty to one hundred and thirty foreigners” arrested for anti-Semitic acts since the start of the conflict, including “more than fifty” were placed in a CRA, according to the figures mentioned by the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, on November 14.
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