“Defamation” and “indecent hypocrisy”: why is Benzema filing a complaint against Darmanin?

Karim Benzema filed a complaint against Gérald Darmanin for defamation on January 16, three months after the minister's accusations regarding a link between the footballer and the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Defamation” and “indecent hypocrisy”: why is Benzema filing a complaint against Darmanin?

Karim Benzema filed a complaint against Gérald Darmanin for defamation on January 16, three months after the minister's accusations regarding a link between the footballer and the Muslim Brotherhood. Why did you wait?

While Gérald Darmanin placed Karim Benzema in his sights, the international football star in turn places the Minister of the Interior in his sights. The former player of the French team filed a complaint against Gérald Darmanin for defamation on Tuesday January 16, three months after the comments of the tenant of Place Beauvau accusing him of a "notorious link" with the Islamist organization of the Muslim Brotherhood.

In October 2023, on Cnews, the minister indicated that he noted "a slow drift in Karim Benzema's positions towards a hard, rigorous Islam, characteristic of the Brotherhood ideology consisting of disseminating Islamic norms in different spaces of society, notably in the sport." Gérald Darmanin had said to base this on a series of facts as an index - dissemination and promotion by the 36-year-old player on social networks of Islamic norms and practices of Islam, the fact of not singing La Marseillaise during his matches with the French team or even a photo with an imam from Meaux raided in the Samuel Paty affair -, but had not provided any factual proof.

In his complaint registered by the Court of Justice of the Republic, the only jurisdiction that can rule on a minister in office, Karim Benzema firmly and repeatedly denies any link with the Muslim Brotherhood. He also denounces a “political instrumentalization” of his person and a form of “petty [and] petty political opportunism”

Concretely, Karim Benzema criticizes Gérald Darmanin for having made “inaccurate and more likely false accusations against him, but in any case made on purpose”. The footballer believes he serves as an ideal target because he is considered a "symbol" of the "youth of the cities, seen as immigrants, Muslims, hostile to France and anti-Semitic", a label in which "we have locked him up and for a long time" and which he rejects, reports Le Parisien.

The 2022 Ballon d'or adds in its complaint of 90 pages, 10 of argumentation and 80 of annexes, that the accusations of Gérald Darmanin on an alleged link with the Brotherhood organization led to an “unleash of violence” against him and that of his family. Me Hugues Vigier, lawyer for Karim Benzema, returned to these "terrible violence" and the consequences of the minister's declarations on the daily life of the football star, who left to live and work in Saudi Arabia, at the microphone of BFMTV on the 17th. January. The council recalled that Saudi Arabia has considered the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization since 2013 and that Gérald Darmanin's words had the effect of "endangering" Karim Benzema's family. “My children have been accused of having a terrorist father,” the footballer wrote in his complaint.

Beyond the reproaches, Karim Benzema denounces the accusations made by Gérald Darmanin and especially the "indecent hypocrisy" of the minister. Gérald Darmanin's statements were made in reaction to a tweet by the footballer on his support for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip published only a few days after the Hamas attack in Israel on October 7. The minister then underlined the lack of support expressed for the Israeli victims before asserting the existence of a link between Karim Benzema and the Muslim Brotherhood. In his complaint, the footballer points out that the strong man from Beauvau points the finger at him for having supposed links with the Muslim Brotherhood, but does not attack the Qatari power "whose proximity to the Muslim Brotherhood is in hope indeed notorious” and who participated in the negotiations and worked with France on the fate of the Hamas hostages. All while recalling that he “made the choice” to live in a country where the Muslim Brotherhood is considered terrorist.

Karim Benzema and his lawyer announced shortly after the statements of Gérald Darmanin to file a complaint against the minister in a “hot” reaction according to Mr. Hugues Vigier. The decision to file a questionable and on the verge of being dismissed complaint ended up taking hold in December when the minister confirmed his comments and reiterated his accusations against the footballer. The Minister of the Interior then indicated that he was not aware of a complaint being filed. "If I don't file a complaint, he will then be able to laugh in front of the media saying 'you see, what I said is true'", the football star told his lawyer according to the latter's statements on RMC. “It is Gérald Darmanin who makes the accusation and it is up to him to prove his words. Obviously, he does not have, he will not have and he has never had a single element,” declared Me Vigier who considers it "quite worrying" that the Minister of the Interior "[is] not damned to know that there is no, and that there has never been any link between Karim Benzema and the Brothers Muslims.”

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