A Swiss writer and political commentator who called a journalist a ‘fat lesbian’ has been handed a 60-day prison sentence and thousands in fines.
The Lausanne court sentenced French-Swiss polemicist Alain Bonnet, who goes by the nom de plume Alain Soral, for the crimes of defamation, discrimination, and incitement to hatred this week.
He was also ordered to pay legal fees and fines totalling thousands of Swiss francs in addition to the time behind bars.
Two years ago, Soral lashed out at Catherine Macherel, a journalist for Swiss newspapers Tribune de Geneve and 24 Heures, in a Facebook video.
He called her a ‘fat lesbian’ and said Macherel’s work as a ‘queer activist’ meant she was ‘unhinged,’ according to Swiss public broadcaster RTS.
LGBTQ+ rights advocates praised the decision in the wake of the court’s ruling.
‘This court decision is an important moment for justice and rights of LGBTQI people in Switzerland,’ said Murial Waeger, co-director of the lesbian activist group LOS, in a statement.
‘The conviction of Alain Soral is a strong signal that homophobic hatred cannot be tolerated in our society.’
But Pascal Junod, a lawyer for Soral blasted the conviction for a ‘crime of opinion’ and said the case aimed to probe whether a person had ‘sinned against the dogmas of single thought.’
Soral will appeal to the Swiss federal court and ‘if necessary’ to the European Court of Human Rights, the lawyer wrote.