First jail sentence for racism
4 December 2003
BRUSSELS – For the first time in Belgian legal history, a man has been condemned to a penal sentence for racism.
Hubert Defourny, leader of an extreme right-wing francophone organisation, was sentenced to five months in prison, a EUR 990 fine and a six-month ban on his civil and political rights.
Defourny distributed a manifesto during the communal elections in October 2000 in the name of his Walloon Blok party, equating immigrants to delinquents and opportunists.
Defourny had already been condemned twice by Belgium’s ant-racism law – the Liege court took the milestone decision estimating that the accused was persistent in his actions and showed no evidence of making efforts to change.
A former policeman, Defourny was earlier condemned in France for arms trafficking.
Several racist-related cases are due to come through the Belgian legal system in the following months, including that of National Front leader Daniel Feret on 6 January.
The National Front could become the first party to ever be banned from receiving public funding.
Anti-racism groups hope the decision taken in the Defourny case will set a precedent for the severity of punishment against acts of racism.
[Copyright Expatica News 2003]
Subject: Belgian news