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Jean-Pierre Brard
Born February 7, 1948 (1948-02-07) (age 73)
Flers, Orne, Normandy, France Template:Flagicon
Occupation Teacher
mayor of Montreuil, Seine-Saint-Denis
Deputy, French National Assembly
expert witness, Cult debate, Voyage Au Pays Des Nouveaux Gourous

Jean-Pierre Brard, (born February 7, 1948 in Flers, Orne), is a French politician.

Biography

Initially a teacher, he entered politics and was elected was deputy mayor of Montreuil, Seine-Saint-Denis a post he held until 1984, when he was elected mayor of the same city. He remained mayor until March 2008. He has also been a deputy to the French National Assembly since 1988. He is a member of the Convention for a Progressive Alternative (CAP). Though not a member, he is affiliated to the parliamentary group of the French Communist Party.

He is a member of the Parliamentary Office for evaluation of scientific and technological options. He also participates in various task forces and commissions on sects, the economy and finance. His commitment to the fight against sects causes him to be particularly controversial - he has been sued by religious and sectarian movements. Brard has also been in the spotlight for his virulent opposition to the HADOPI law.

Political Offices Held

Local Offices

1971–1984 City Countil and Deputy Mayor of Montreuil

1984–1989 Mayor of Montreuil

1989–1995 Mayor of Montreuil

1995–2001 Mayor of Montreuil

2001–2008 Mayor of Montreuil

2008–2014 Municipal Councilor of Montreuil (opposition)

Member of Parliament

1988–1993 member of the seventh district of Seine-Saint-Denis

1993–1997 re-elected member of the seventh district of Seine-Saint-Denis

1997–2002 re-elected member of the seventh district of Seine-Saint-Denis

2002-2003 re-elected member of the seventh district of Seine-Saint-Denis

(election annulled by constitutional council)

2003–2007 re-elected member of the seventh district of Seine-Saint-Denis

2007–present re-elected member of the seventh district of Seine-Saint-Denis

Anti-sect Activism

Controversies with Jehovah's Witnesses

Tax on gifts to Jehovah's Witnesses

Brard has been at the forefront of those demanding that the Jehovah's Witnesses pay a controversial 1998 tax on gifts to non-profit organizations, which the Jehovah's Witnesses have criticized as an unfair tax on certain religions. On October 18, 2005, Brard filed an amendment to the 2006 Finance Bill to ensure full recovery of the debt. The amendment was approved the next day by the Committee on Finance (of which Brard is a member), although the general rapporteur of the Budget Gilles Carrez (UMP) said that this amendment could have "no legal effect" because the State can not be compelled to collect a debt. On November 3, in response to a written question to the Minister for Economic Affairs, Brard said that Jehovah's Witnesses had exhausted their remedies under domestic law, since the Court of Cassation had ruled on the tax debt in October 2004. The Jehovah's Witnesses have appealed the case to the European Court of Human Rights, which will rule soon on the claim of infringement upon freedom of religion.

Brard Denounces Patrick Pelloux

On August 4, 2004, in an open letter to the press, Brard attacked Patrick Pelloux, president of the Association of Emergency Room Doctors of France, for his supposed close ties to Jehovah's Witnesses, citing his supposed participation in a medical symposium connected to the religious group. Pelloux filed a complaint for defamation, noting that his support of vaccinations and blood transfusions was in contrast to the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses. Pelloux eventually withdrew the complaint.

Jehovah's Witnesses Sue Brard for Defamation

The Christian Federation of Jehovah's Witnesses in France have Brard for defamation, in response to Brard's comment that the Jehovah's Witnesses operate like an international crime ring. The court found him guilty of defamation, but only fined him one Euro in damages.

In 1998 the Jehovah's Witnesses again sued Brard for defamation after he claimed that the group was responsible for a large number of suicides. Brard was acquitted, with the noting that while the statement itself was defamatory, it did not constitute religious bias.

In 2006, they again sued Brard, this time for his comment saying that Jehovah's Witnesses did not pay their taxes, condemned people to death by denying them blood transfusions, and covered up serious crimes such as pedophilia. In 2008, part of this claim was dismissed, with the court ruling that the statement was defamatory, but made in good faith.

On September 29, 2009, the Court of cassation rejected the cassational appeal of Monsieur Brard. He was condemned to the arrest and his statement was judged as defamatory[1].

Controversy over Brard Visits to Protestant Churches

On February 6 2005, Brard visited six churches which he said had been the subject of complaints by local residents for excessive noise and parking violations. Jean-Arnold de Clermont, chairman of the French Protestant Federation, filed a complaint, claiming that the right to practice religion was violated. Brard justified his actions by saying his role as mayor of Montreuil obligated him to respond to the complaints.

Brard Objects to Cross Display at Council Meeting

At a council meeting held in Bobigny on November 8 2006, Brard cut the microphone of Alderman Patricia Vayssiere, claiming that her wearing a cross was an ostentatious religious display that violated principles of secularism. Brard was found guilty of religious discrimination, and fined 1500 Euros, plus 2000 Euros in court costs and 5000 Euros in damages.

Appears in Documentary

Brard appeared as an expert witness in the French documentary on Landmark Education, Voyage Au Pays Des Nouveaux Gourous, in 2004. When interviewed by Pieces a Conviction, Brard disagrees with the assessment of Landmark Forum Leader and spokeswoman for Landmark Education, Sophie McLean, saying that McLean is “lying”.

References

External links

fr:Jean-Pierre Brard

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