GM crops 'a clear and present danger'

Forty-nine activists who destroyed genetically modified crops have been acquitted of criminal charges in a French court.

    The court in the central city of Orleans dismissed the charges of organised vandalism against the 49, who had uprooted GM maize in the region planted by Monsanto, the American biotechnology group, in two incidents, one last year and the other this year.

    "The defendants have shown proof that they committed an infraction of voluntary vandalism in a group to respond to a situation of necessity," the court said.

    That situation of necessity "resulted from the unbridled distribution of modified genes that constitutes a clear and present danger for the well-being of others, in the sense that it could be the source of contamination and unwanted pollution", it said.

    The court, however, upheld a civil complaint against the defendants, ordering them to pay $7,000 to Monsanto in damages and interest. Monsanto had been seeking more than $300,000.

    Jean-Emile Sanchez, one of the activists, called the verdict "a huge victory for the anti-GM side" and said the judgment would form an important legal precedent.

    Alex Perrin, the state prosecutor in the case who had pressed for jail terms for all of the defendants, and Monsanto said that they would appeal against the decision.

    The defendants had included two Green Party politicians, one of whom, Yves Contassot, is a deputy mayor of Paris in charge of environmental issues.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Learn what India's parties' symbols mean by drawing them

    Learn what India's parties' symbols mean by drawing them

    More than 2,300 political parties have registered for the largest electoral exercise in the world.

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    No, it wasn't because of WMDs, democracy or Iraqi oil. The real reason is much more sinister than that.