People attend a national gathering to protest antisemitism and the rise of antisemitic attacks in the Place de la Republique in Paris, France, February 19, 2019. The writing on the sign reads: "Antisemitism, islamophobia, racism - not in our name".
(photo credit: REUTERS/GONZALO FUENTES)
The annulment of a sentence convicting far-right activist and Holocaust denier Alain Soral sparked controversy in France, Le Monde reported on Wednesday.
The case has been described by many French papers and anti-racism organizations as a “1938 Munich Agreement of French justice.”
Soral was sentenced to one year in prison with an arrest warrant on April 15, 2019, after posting material that denied the Holocaust in his website. He had previously been condemned several times to paying fines, and had been sentenced to prison but has never received an arrest warrant.
However, the prosecutor challenged the court sentence claiming that the arrest warrant was devoid of legal basis.
According to the prosecutor, the provision that allowed judges to attach an arrest warrant to a sentence if the offense is of criminal or military nature was not applicable in this case on the basis of the 1881 law that protects the freedom of the press.
Therefore, until the Paris Court of Appeal examines the case, the prosecution will not execute the arrest.
“Faced with antisemitism, we only have two remedies: education and the law. Education to prevent and the law to punish,” Francis Kalifat, the president of Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France), the umbrella organization for Jewish organizations in the country, wrote in a statement.
“How can we then explain the inexplicable? The Paris public prosecutor's office disavowed and opposed the Paris court, which allegedly sentenced Alain Soral too severely,” Kalifat further said.
The president of the CRIF also noted that Soral has since continued performing and spreading his ideology of hatred online.
Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations Shimon Samuels also expressed outrage over the matter in a letter sent to French Minister of Justice Nicole Belloubet.
Samuels highlighted that “The denial of justice for his Holocaust Denial, by the Public Prosecutor, has now made Soral into a resurrected hate-hero.”
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