CRIF president expresses shock and disbelief at reduced sentence for Holocaust denier

The head of France’s Jewish community has expressed disbelief after a French court reduced on appeal the prison sentence of a notorious antisemite for denying the Holocaust to a 5.000 Euro fine.

The Paris correctional court had sentenced Alain Soral to one year imprisonment in April 2019 for publishing a drawing on his website of a fictitious cover of the magazine Charlie Hebdo with the “Chutzpah Hebdo” featuring Charlie Chaplin asking a question, “Shoah where are you?”, along with a Star of David, a shoe, a wig, a lamp and a bar of soap, a reference to a controversial cover of the magazine after the 2016 Brussels bombing.

The Paris Court of Appeal confirmed that Soral had been guilty of Holocaust denial for publishing the drawing, but opted to reduce his sentence to a fine.

Francis Kalifat, President of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF), the country’s EJC affiliate, expressed his bafflement at the verdict in a tweet: “A prison sentence against repeat offender Soral has been reduced to a mere fine on appeal. Through this sentence, the judiciary has dealt a blow to the fight against antisemitism. What message is being sent to Holocaust deniers? It beggars belief.”

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