A court in Switzerland sentenced a writer and commentator to 60 days in jail for calling a journalist a “fat lesbian,” and the decision is being lauded by LGBTQ+ groups.
On Monday, French-Swiss polemicist Alain Bonnet, who goes by Alain Soral, was sentenced by the Lausanne court for the crimes of defamation, discrimination and incitement to hatred after he criticized Catherine Macherel, a journalist for Swiss newspapers Tribune de Geneve and 24 Heures, in a Facebook video two years ago.
“This court decision is an important moment for justice and rights of LGBTQI people in Switzerland,” said Murial Waeger, co-director of a lesbian activist group. “The conviction of Alain Soral is a strong signal that homophobic hatred cannot be tolerated in our society.”
In addition to the prison time, Soral was subsequently ordered to pay legal fees and fines totaling thousands of Swiss francs.
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Soral’s sentencing came after he called Macherel a “fat lesbian,” criticized her work as a “queer activist” and said she was “unhinged” in a social media video, according to Swiss public broadcaster RTS.
Pascal Junod, a lawyer for Soral, mockingly blasted the conviction for a “crime of opinion” in an email to The Associated Press. He said the case aimed to probe whether a person had “sinned against the dogmas of single thought.”
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Soral will appeal to Swiss federal court and “if necessary” to the European Court of Human Rights, his lawyer added.
In 2020, Swiss voters approved a measure that made it illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation.
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This conviction was not the first time Soral has gotten into trouble over his words as he was previously and repeatedly convicted in France for denying the Holocaust, which is a crime in France. He was sentenced to jail time in 2019 over the denials.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.