Writer Jailed After Insulting a Female Journalist, Alarming Free Speech Advocates

(PatriotWise.com) — A Swiss court sentenced a French-Swiss writer and commentator to 60 days in jail for berating a journalist and calling her a “fat lesbian,” the Associated Press reported.

In a Facebook video in 2021, polemicist Alain Bonnet, who goes by the name Alain Soral, scornfully lashed out at journalist Catherine Macherel, a lesbian activist who writes for the Swiss newspapers 24 Heures and Tribune de Geneve.

In addition to calling Macherel a “fat lesbian,” Soral also suggested that the work she does as a so-called “queer activist” made her “unhinged,” according to Swiss broadcaster RTS.

On Monday, a court in Lausanne found Soral guilty of defamation, incitement to hatred, and discrimination. The court ordered him to pay thousands in fines and legal fees and sentenced him to spend 60 days behind bars.

LGBT groups in Switzerland applauded the judgment.

In a statement on Monday, Murial Waeger, the co-director of the lesbian group LOS, called the court’s decision “an important moment for justice and rights” for Swiss LGBT people. She said Soral’s conviction sends a “strong signal” that homophobia will not be tolerated.

Pascal Junod, Soral’s attorney, blasted the court’s judgment, saying his client was convicted of a “crime of opinion.” He told the Associated Press that the purpose of the trial was to determine if Soral “sinned against the dogmas of single thought.”

Junod said the conviction will be appealed to the Swiss federal court and the European Court of Human Rights “if necessary.”

Swiss voters approved a measure in 2020 to make it illegal to discriminate against people based on sexual orientation.

Alain Soral has repeatedly been convicted in France and received jail time in 2019 after denying the Holocaust, which is illegal in France.

Copyright 2023, PatriotWise.com