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Alain Soral will go to prison for his homophobic comments – rts.ch

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Alain Soral will go to prison for his homophobic comments – rts.ch

Franco-Swiss polemicist Alain Soral is ultimately sentenced to 40 days in prison for discrimination and inciting hatred based on sexual orientation. This is the first time that the Federal Court has examined this criminal norm. Its judgment will set a precedent.

It was a highly anticipated decision. In a judgment published Thursday, the Federal Court confirms the conviction of Alain Soral for discrimination and incitement to hatred based on sexual orientation.

The Swiss Supreme Court notes “the demeaning, dehumanizing and outrageous language” of the writer inviting Internet users to “despise a journalist because of her sexual orientation in particular”.

This judgment will be a landmark. This is in fact the first time that the highest judicial authority in Switzerland has ruled on discrimination based on sexual orientation, criminally sanctioned since the popular vote of February 9, 2020.

The Soral affair dates back to the summer of 2021. In August, Cathy Macherel, journalist at the Tribune de Genève, revealed that the “Equality and Reconciliation” association, chaired by the Franco-Swiss polemicist based in Lausanne since 2019, gives training in Geneva.

The incriminated remarks

Alain Soral did not appreciate this survey and decided to respond to it a few weeks later in a filmed interview broadcast on the website of the association he chairs.

According to the Federal Court, the incriminated speech taken as a whole gives the feeling that in the eyes of Alain Soral, the journalist “presents both the fault of being homosexual and that of campaigning in favor of certain minorities”.

“Arouse a feeling of hatred”

The court notes that the filmed interview is accompanied by a photograph of Cathy Macherel. “Alain Soral planned a staging consisting of including a photo-portrait of the journalist (…), thus offering Internet users a concrete figure on whom to pour their contempt. There is no doubt that the appellant’s message tends to arouse and excite a feeling of hatred because of sexual orientation.”

An appellant, Alain Soral, who is not his first attempt at discriminatory remarks. The Federal Court notes that while his Swiss criminal record is clean, his French record includes 22 convictions between 2008 and 2019.

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For the Federal Court, “his multiple convictions for defamation and provocation of racial or religious discrimination, or because of sexual orientation or identity (…) confirm Alain Soral’s propensity to adopt contemptuous and discriminatory behavior towards with regard to groups of people who are nevertheless protected by the law.

“Insensitive to criminal sanction”

The Supreme Court dismisses Alain Soral’s argument invoking the violation of freedom of expression. “His approach is much more a gratuitous personal attack on people defined by their sexual orientation than an expression of an opinion on matters of public interest.”

In the eyes of the Federal Court, it is therefore established that the Franco-Swiss made criminally reprehensible remarks. Like the Vaud Cantonal Court, the Supreme Court considers that a prison sentence is necessary “in view of Alain Soral’s numerous antecedents (…), and his insensitivity to criminal sanctions”.

The polemicist therefore receives a custodial sentence of 40 days.

Fabiano Citroni, RTS Investigation Department

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