French Man Firas M Who Punched Woman In Viral Video Gets 6 Months In Jail

A prison guard stands behind a locked gate of a detention cell.
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A man seen in a viral video punching a woman outside a Paris cafe in July is getting jail time.

Lawyers of the assaulted woman said that that a French court on Thursday sentenced the man named only as Firas M six months in prison and ordered him to pay a fine of 2,000 euro.

The court determined that the 25-year-old man was responsible for his acts when he punched 22-year-old engineering student Marie Laguerre.

The man, who is now prohibited to contact Laguerre, will have to undergo treatment for alcohol and drug addiction, and take a course about gender-related violence. He was also sentenced to a further six months suspended jail term.

“My client wanted a punishment but she didn’t want his head to roll, she just wanted him to learn a lesson,” Laguerre’s lawyer Noemie Saidi-Cottier told Reuters. “If he never does that again, she feels she has won.”

According to Laguerre, the man lashed out at her after she told him to stop harassing her while she was walking on a Paris street. On July 25, Laguerre detailed the incident along with a CCTV footage on Facebook. The video went viral and prompted an international conversation about harassment.

Pillows are strewn in beds inside a prison cell.
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Laguerre filed a report of the incident. In August, the police identified and arrested the man.

Laguerre accused her aggressor of making obscene and degrading comments as well as noises with sexual connotations towards her while she was walking in the 19th district of Paris in July.

She told the man to shut up, but he reacted by throwing an ashtray that narrowly missed her. He then walked towards her and punched her before calmly walking away. Four people from a cafe terrace challenged the man but eventually let him go.

During the trial, the man admitted the assault but refuted allegations of being sexist and using obscene language towards Laguerre.

BBC said that prosecutors described the defendant as violent and impulsive after the trial was delayed following a request for a report on his mental health.

Firas M was later found guilty of violence with use or threat of weapon. Prosecutors, however, said that there were insufficient grounds to charge him of sexual harassment.

“My attacker will not be able to understand the misogynistic and sexist nature of what he is accused of,” Laguerre told the French publication Liberation. “We are missing out on teaching him a lesson to make him aware that it’s no longer possible to treat women like pieces of meat.”