Jacques-Henri Eyraud tells the court about the hell Marseille supporters put him through

Jacques-Henri Eyraud tells the court about the hell Marseille supporters put him through
Jacques-Henri Eyraud tells the court about the hell Marseille supporters put him through

While the trial of eleven OM supporters for cyberharassment against him began this Monday, former president Jacques-Henri Eyraud returned to this difficult period with strong words.

The story is not yet over. The trial of eleven OM supporters prosecuted for aggravated cyberstalking and death threats against the former president of the Marseille club, Jacques-Henri Eyraud, opened this Monday before the Paris judicial court.

“We’ll have your skin”, “Let’s hang this son of a dog”, “It’s going to end badly for you”… These are some of the messages targeting Mr. Eyraud, 56, posted on Twitter (now X) between the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 by the eleven defendants, aged between 25 and 52.

“Everything was done to make me leave office and break down”

“These are serious comments. Let’s not trivialize them,” said Olivier Baratelli, lawyer for the former president of Olympique de Marseille, at the bar, present at the hearing unlike several defendants.

In addition to the threatening messages, caricatures showing Mr. Eyraud beheaded or his body under a guillotine were also posted on Twitter. “Everything was done to make me leave my functions and break down,” said Mr. Eyraud with emotion, in a strict black suit, in front of the court.

“The level of threats was completely crazy”

The former president of OM, accompanied in court by his teenage daughter, recounted the trauma he and his family experienced because of the death threats received at the beginning of 2021. “The level of threats was completely crazy,” he recalls.

“Do you have any regrets about having led OM?” asks the president of the 10th correctional chamber. The answer comes without a shadow of hesitation: “the answer is no”. “I liked this club, I liked this city” of Marseille, says the native of Paris. In the hate messages, his Parisian origin was recalled several times.

In total, around a hundred people had posted hateful messages but only eleven of them who were hiding behind a pseudonym could be identified. Among the defendants, Michaël A., 41, explains that he posted several hate messages because he was “angry”. “I don’t wish this gentleman to die. I feel ashamed,” he said. Looking very moved, he asks permission to turn to Mr. Eyraud to apologize. “The words overwhelmed my thoughts. They were stupid comments that had no reason to be made,” he said ruefully.

The tweet for which Michaël A. is being prosecuted stated: “Death to the traitors” Jacques-Henri Eyraud and Hugues Ouvrard, general director of OM at the time. In other tweets, which were not accepted by the court, Michaël A. wrote “for your coffins, the crate will be enough” or even: “I definitely wish them dead, that they leave this world”.

The facts prosecuted took place alongside serious incidents that occurred on January 30, 2021, when several hundred OM supporters, dissatisfied with the management of the club, violently attacked the Commanderie, its training center .

Twelve young people were sentenced in February 2021 to prison terms in connection with this case by the Marseille criminal court. Four others, considered to be leaders of groups of supporters involved in the incidents, were also sentenced in Marseille in March 2021. A few weeks after the incidents at the Commanderie, Mr. Eyraud, at the head of the Marseille club since October 2016, had was replaced by Pablo Longoria. The trial is scheduled to last until Tuesday.

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