« Source : Réseau Voltaire » [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

« Source : Réseau Voltaire » [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Comedian Dieudonne was sentenced to two months in jail for anti-Semitic jokes.

Dieudonne M'bala M'bala, the controversial French comedian, was sentenced by a Belgian court to prison for two months. He was also subjected to a 9,000 euro fine in Leige, an eastern Belgium city. The comedian is indicted for making anti-Semitic jokes in a 2012 comedy show. The comedian was absent from the court when the verdict was delivered.

Dieudonne is no stranger to court injunctions. He was earlier subjected to punitive action by the European Court of Human Rights. The court decided that freedom of speech is not to be applied to anti-Semitic and racist performances. The comedian insists that he is against Jews.

Dieudonne became famous after he invented the “quenelle”, a gesture of the hand eerily similar to the inverted Nazi salute. Incidentally, a number of French metropolises have banned his shows.

The judgment by the Belgian court said that all accusations against Dieudonne was established. The list of charges include hate speech, incitement to hatred and also Holocaust denial. The sentence against the comedian was hailed as an important victory by Eric Lemmens, a lawyer representing Jewish organizations in Belgium. Earlier in 2015, in March, a French court found the comedian guilty of the charge of condoning terrorism. He was subsequently handed a two-month sentence.

Dieudonne had made a post on Facebook that he felt like Charlie Coulibaly after the Paris attacks in January. The post mixed the slogan “Je Suis Charlie” and the name of one of three gunmen who executed the attacks made on Charlie Hebdo. He openly declared that he felt sympathy for the attackers. Coulibaly, one of the perpetrators, killed a woman police officer prior to murdering four Jewish hostages within the confines of a kosher supermarket.

Dieudonne posted his comment on Facebook after a huge protest took place in Paris where the marchers condemned the attacks. A total of 17 individuals were killed in the attack. The comedian informed the court that he had condemned those attacks wholeheartedly. His logic was that the post was made to illustrate how it feels to be treated like terrorists.

The comedian, during his initial years, was active with left wing and anti-racist groups. Dieudonne began his career in the 1990s with a Jewish assistant. His father was from Cameroon and his mother was French. He started to openly criticize Israel and Jews in 2002. He also stood for European elections in 2004 from a pro-Palestinian party in France.

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