Belgian nationalists convicted of 'inciting hatred' in Facebook posts urging government to put 'our people first

The former members of Belgium's 'Nation' party have been convicted for Facebook posts in which they compared the Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek to Africa and called on the Belgian government to put "our people first."

Members of a right-wing party in Belgium have been convicted by the Criminal Court of Liege of inciting hatred in a series of historic Facebook posts criticizing the country's immigration policy and calling on the Belgian government to put its own citizens first.

Those on trial were affiliated with Nation, a far-right party that has no representation in any of Belgium's legislatures, and included three of its former candidates in the 2018 regional and federal elections.

The convictions relate to several Facebook posts published between 2020 and 2021, in which the individuals in question compared Molenbeek, a district of Brussels with a large migrant population, to Africa.

They also wrote: "Stop living together, we want to live without them," referring to migrants, in addition to a comment that read: "Our people first".

According to the news outlet La Dernière Heure, the posts also included "anti-Muslim remarks," addressed topics such as "immigration, Covid lockdowns," and criticized facilities that house asylum seekers.

Leticia Knevels, Sarah Dumalin and Corinne Dupont were the three former Nation candidates. They subsequently left the party after their unsuccessful 2018 campaigns, and founded the non-profit organization National Values. The offensive posts were published on the new organization's Facebook page.

The posts were reported to the federal police, who subsequently conducted an investigation and charged the people behind the account.

The criminal court in Liege found six members guilty of discrimination and incitement to hatred against a minority group. The organization's treasurer, Corinne Dupont, was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for three years; its secretary, Sarah Dumalin, was sentenced to 50 hours of unpaid work; and its president, Leticia Knevels, was sentenced to 100 hours of unpaid work.

Their sentences coincide with a similar fate for Alternative for Germany (AfD) politician Marie-Thérèse Kaiser, who was found guilty on Monday by the Verden Regional Court in Lower Saxony of "inciting hatred" against local Afghan workers.

After hearing that Afghan migrants would be relocated to her district, Kaiser published gang rape statistics on social media, showing that Afghan nationals were disproportionately represented in the figures.

She was fined €6,000 and now has a criminal record.

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