Belgium charges French comedian over racist remarks
The Belga press agency reports that controversial French comedian Dieudonné has been charged with using anti-Semitic, discriminatory speech during a performance in Belgium and faces prison time of up to six months without parole should he be convicted. "His performance is full of so many defamatory, offensive expressions that it makes one want to vomit," said Damien Leboutte, the prosecutor in Liège, when reading the indictment.
Leboutte is also seeking to fine the comedian EUR 5 000. The verdict is expected on 25 November.
According to the Belgian authorities, Dieudonné, a 49-year-old whose full name is Dieudonné Mbala Mbala, committed his offense during a performance in March 2012 in Liège. His words allegedly incited racial intolerance and expressed negativistic, revisionist ideas.
Belgian daily Le Soir reports, for example, that the comedian called Adolf Hitler a "good-hearted braggart". Dieudonné is the son of a Cameroonian man and a Frenchwoman and was actively against racism during the 1990s, when he became famous as part of a duo with the Jewish humorist Elie Semoun.
Later, however, he began to spend time with representatives of the French ultra-right and doing solo performances featuring speech that primarily took heavy swipes at Jewish people. He has faced several prosecutions, his performances have been cancelled, and the doors of the mainstream media have gradually been closed to him.
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