A French magistrate has dismissed charges against US folk legend Bob Dylan over remarks the singer made comparing the treatment of Serbs by Croats to the treatment of Jews by Nazis, his French lawyer says.
The case was brought by the Council of the Croat Community and Institutions of France (CRICCF) over Dylan’s remarks in a 2012 interview with Rolling Stone magazine that were also published in the magazine’s French edition.
In discussing race relations in the US, the 72-year-old singer said: “If you got a slave master or (Ku Klux) Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.”
CRICCF filed a criminal complaint, accusing Dylan of being complicit in inciting racial hatred and public insults of a racial nature.
The complaint led to criminal charges, as is habitual in France, unless the accused denies the remarks.
But the investigating magistrate on Tuesday dismissed the charges, Dylan’s French lawyer Thierry Marembert said.
Marembert said the magistrate ruled the performer could not be held accountable for remarks published in France as he had not agreed to the interview given in the US being published in Rolling Stone’s French edition.
The magistrate did, however, uphold charges against the editor of the French edition of Rolling Stone, who faces a trial for inciting racial hatred and public insults of a racial nature as the publisher of the article.
The ethnic hostility between Serbs and Croats erupted again in the late 1980s, leading to a conflict after Croatia split from Yugoslavia in 1991.