GENEVA (AP) — LGBTQ+ groups hailed the 60-day jail sentence a court in Switzerland gave to a writer and commentator for deriding a journalist as a “fat lesbian” and other critical remarks.
The Lausanne court sentenced French-Swiss polemicist Alain Bonnet, who goes by Alain Soral, for the crimes of defamation, discrimination and incitement to hatred on Monday. He was ordered to pay legal fees and fines totaling thousands of Swiss francs (dollars) in addition to the time behind bars.
Soral lashed out at Catherine Macherel, a journalist for Swiss newspapers Tribune de Geneve and 24 Heures, in a Facebook video two years ago. He called her a “fat lesbian” and said Macherel’s work as a “queer activist” meant she was “unhinged,” according to Swiss public broadcaster RTS.
“This court decision is an important moment for justice and rights of LGBTQI people in Switzerland,” Murial Waeger, co-director of the lesbian activist group LOS, said in a statement. “The conviction of Alain Soral is a strong signal that homophobic hatred cannot be tolerated in our society.”
A lawyer for Soral, Pascal Junod, did not reply to a request from The Associated Press on Tuesday about whether his client planned to appeal.
Waeger said the verdict represented a milestone in the application of a measure approved by Swiss voters in 2020 that made it illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation.
Soral was convicted repeatedly in France and sentenced to jail time in 2019 for denying the Holocaust, which is a crime in France.