The man who slapped French President Emmanuel Macron has been sentenced to 14 months in prison and suspended for 14 months

Atlanta, United States (CNN) — A French court Thursday sentenced Damien Tarrell, the man who slapped French President Emmanuel Macron, to 18 months in prison, but suspended 14 months, CNN affiliate BFM reported.

Earlier Thursday, Valence’s attorney general, Alex Perrin, requested a tougher sentence of 18 months in prison, without any comment.

The attorney general said Tarrell, 28, sought to “insult” the president.

“The president has the right to shake hands and is free to choose his communication strategy,” Perrin said.

“This kind of behavior shouldn’t stop him from doing that,” he added.

The last man tried for assaulting a French president was Hermann Foster, after he grabbed then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s shoulder and nearly knocked him to the ground before being confronted by security officers and detained in 2011. Foster received a suspended six-month prison sentence.

Damien Tarrell has 10 days to appeal the ruling.

Damien was arrested on Tuesday after slapping Macron. The incident – which was captured on video – shows Damien holding Macron’s arm and then slapping the president on the left cheek as he shouts for the end of “Macroni” – a derogatory term used by the French press for Macron’s presidency.

The unemployed 28-year-old admitted to hitting the president, but told investigators he was not premeditated because he “acted without thinking” and “to express his displeasure,” according to a statement by Valencia prosecutor Alex Perrin.

According to the prosecutor, Damien said he was close to the anti-government protest movement in France, the yellow vests, and that he had far-right political beliefs.


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