Writer and commentator Alian Soral was sentenced to 60 days in jail to the delight of a LGBT activist group in Switzerland.
The Lausanne court handed down the sentence to Soral, whose legal name is Alain Bonnet, on Sept. 2. The right-wing writer was charged with defamation, discrimination and incitement to hatred and, in addition to his time behind bars, has been ordered to pay several thousand dollars in legal fees and fines.
Soral called Catherine Macherel, a journalist for the Swiss newspaper Tribune de Geneve, a “fat lesbian” in a video posted to Facebook in 2021. He also criticized her “queer activism” and suggested it indicated she is “unhinged.”
His conviction and subsequent punishment were deemed a victory for the lesbian activist group LOS.
“This court decision is an important moment for justice and rights of LGBTQI people in Switzerland,” Murial Waeger, co-director of the organization, said in a statement. “The conviction of Alain Soral is a strong signal that homophobic hatred cannot be tolerated in our society.”
According to NBC News, “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 is French and Swiss. He was previously sentenced to jail time in France in 2019 after being convicted of denying the Holocaust – the same year he was sentenced to three months in jail for questioning crimes against humanity under its Gayssot Act. He was also fined €6,000, the then equivalent of $6,780. France outlawed denying the Holocaust in 1990.
“Soral has had a long career as an anti-establishment activist and author,” wrote QZ. “He made a name for himself defending both far-right and far-left causes, as well as infamous Holocaust deniers like Faurisson and comedian Dieudonné M’bala Bala. Soral achieved online fame in recent years via his website, Egalité et Réconciliation, a nationalist platform that describes itself as ‘leftwing on labor but rightwing on values.’”
The 65-year-old has been a supporter of the grassroots, populist movement known as the Yellow Vests that began protesting for economic justice across France in 2018.
Soral plans to appeal his Swiss conviction “if necessary” to the European Court of Human Rights, according to a statement from his lawyer Pascal Junod. Junod called the conviction a “crime of opinion” and said the case centered on if Soral had “sinned against the dogmas of single thought,” per Fox News.