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Ex-MP Sentenced to Year in Prison in Belgium over Hate Speech

via YouTube

Dries Van Langenhove, the founder of a Flemish nationalist youth group in Belgium, was sentenced to one year in prison for posts in a private Facebook group chat.

The court ruled the messages promoted Nazi ideology and white supremacy, rejecting the defense that they were jokes.

It considered the large group of 750 members to constitute a public space.

Van Langenhove was found to have wanted to undermine democracy and replace it with a social model based on white supremacy.

“The defendant was infatuated with Nazi ideology, which in its implementation caused and continues to cause untold human suffering. The file shows that he wanted to undermine democratic society and replace it with his social model of white supremacy,” the court said.

“The forums repeatedly and systematically mocked groups of the population on the basis of so-called race, skin color, nationality, national or ethnic origin or descent, and presented a negative image of these groups or communities and insulted them,” the court added.

He was also barred from public office for 10 years and fined.

The ruling was criticized by his political party as a political prosecution, while others supported it as an important stand against racism.

“This is the absolute state of freedom of speech in Europe. They’re jailing patriotic dissidents. Next time they’ll do this to me, you or anyone who goes against the globalist regime,” Dutch political activist Eva Vlaardingerbroek wrote.

“I’m seriously lost for words here. This is full-blown tyranny and we should fight it with all our might.”

“This ruling is an important victory for everyone fighting for fair opportunities for all… Greens will never tolerate or normalise racism, because racism is always and everywhere reprehensible and painful,” Green party co-chair Nadia Naji said.

It sparked a debate around freedom of speech protections for offensive private discussions online.

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