Comic Dieudonne given jail sentence for anti-Semitism

  • 25 November 2015
  • From the section Europe
French comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala (11 January 2014) Image copyright AP
Image caption The court ruled all the accusations against Dieudonne were established

Controversial French comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala has been sentenced to two months in jail by a Belgian court for racist and anti-Semitic comments he made during a show in Belgium.

Dieudonne was also fined €9,000 ($9,500; £6,300) by the court in the city of Liege. He was not in court.

The comedian, who insists he is not anti-Semitic, made the remarks during a show in Liege in 2012.

He has several convictions for anti-Semitism and hate speech.

One of his most recent was after the attack in January on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

Dieudonne rose to prominence through the invention of the "quenelle", a hand gesture critics have likened to an inverted Nazi salute.

Several French cities have banned the comedian from performing.

'A major victory'

The Belgian court's judgement on Wednesday said that "all the accusations against Dieudonne were established - both incitement to hatred and hate speech but also Holocaust denial".

Eric Lemmens, a lawyer for Belgium's Jewish organisations, said the guilty verdict was a "major victory".

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Dieudonne has several convictions for anti-Semitism and hate speech

Earlier this month the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Dieudonne in a separate case. It judged that freedom of speech did not mean his performances could be racist or anti-Semitic.

Dieudonne was at that time appealing against a fine he received from a French court in 2009 for inviting a Holocaust denier on stage.

In March, Dieudonne was found guilty by a French court of condoning terrorism and given a two-month sentence.

He had posted on Facebook "I feel like Charlie Coulibaly" just days after the January Paris attacks..

The post combined the "Je Suis Charlie" slogan with the name of one of the three gunmen involved in the attacks on Charlie Hebdo.

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