Belgian nationalists convicted for ‘inciting hatred’ in Facebook posts calling on government to put ‘our people first’

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

Three of those convicted were former election candidates for the radical right-wing "Nation" party.
By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

Six members of a right-wing party in Belgium have been convicted by Liège Criminal Court of inciting hatred in a series of historic Facebook posts in which they criticized the country’s immigration policy and called for the Belgian government to put its own citizens first.

Those on trial were affiliated with Nation, a radical right-wing party that has no representative in any of Belgium’s legislatures, and included three of its former election candidates from the 2018 regional and federal elections.

The convictions pertain to several Facebook posts published between 2020 and 2021 in which the individuals concerned 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 La Dernière Heure news outlet, the posts also included “anti-Muslim remarks,” addressed themes of “immigration, Covid lockdowns,” and criticized facilities accommodating asylum seekers.

Leticia Knevels, Sarah Dumalin, and Corinne Dupont were the three former Nation candidates. They subsequently left the party after their unsuccessful campaigns in 2018 and formed the non-profit organization National Values. The offending 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 those behind the account.

The criminal court in Liège found six members guilty of discrimination and inciting 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 handed an order for 50 hours of unpaid work; and its president, Leticia Knevels, was sentenced to 100 hours of unpaid work.

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

After hearing that Afghan migrants would be moved into her district, Kaiser took to social media to publish gang rape statistics that showed Afghan nationals were disproportionately represented in the figures.

She was ordered to pay a fine of €6,000 and now holds a criminal record.

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