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Bob Dylan facing legal inquiry in France over remarks about Croats

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Bob Dylan is under investigation by French authorities over comments he made in a 2012 interview for Rolling Stone in which he appeared to compare Croatia to Nazi Germany.

According to the Paris prosecutor's office, Dylan has been placed under formal investigation by the Paris Main Court for "public injury" and "incitement to hatred,"  CNN reports. The singer was served notice of the investigation last month.

That investigation follows a legal complaint lodged by a Croatian group over Dylan's comments, during a long criticism of race relations in the U.S.,in which he said: 

"It's a distraction. People at each other's throats just because they are of a different color. It's the height of insanity, and it will hold any nation back -- or any neighborhood back. Or any anything back. Blacks know that some whites didn't want to give up slavery -- that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can't pretend they don't know that. If you got a slave master or 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.

"It's doubtful that America's ever going to get rid of that stigmatization. It's a country founded on the backs of slaves."

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That last part of the first paragraph is what prompted the Council of Croats in France to file the complaint.

While the Croatian group has said Dylan was referencing the violence that came with the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, it's unclear whether the long-outspoken musician was referring to Yugoslavia or the crimes committed when the Ustasha ruled Croatia during World War II, according to CNN.

The case is currently under "judicial investigation" in French courts, meaning that authorities are looking into its merits but haven't yet allowed the complaint to progress.

"We have nothing against Rolling Stone magazine or Bob Dylan as a singer," the council's Vlatko Maric told the Guardian. "[Y]ou cannot equate Croatian [war] criminals with all Croats."

Messages left for Rolling Stone representatives for comment were not immediately returned.

The group said an apology would be sufficient redress for the remarks. So far, Dylan hasn't commented on the suit. Last month, he was awarded France's prestigious Légion d'honneur.

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