French Court Convicts Algerian Footballer For Backing Palestine

Web DeskJanuary 4, 2024
French Court Convicts Algerian Footballer For Backing Palestine

Algerian footballer Youcef Atal faced a significant legal consequence as a French court, on January 3, 2024, handed him an eight-month suspended sentence for his involvement in inciting religious hatred through a social media post related to the Gaza war. Atal, who serves as a defender for the French club Nice, was also ordered to pay a fine of $49,000 for sharing a video that called for a “black day for the Jews.”

In addition to the suspended sentence and fine, the court mandated that details of Atal’s conviction be published in both the regional newspaper, Nice-Matin, and the national newspaper, Le Monde. The court’s decision stems from Atal sharing a video featuring preacher Mahmoud Al Hasanat, who invoked God to bring about a “black day for the Jews” and to guide Gazans retaliating against Israel.

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It is noteworthy that Atal shared the controversial video while he was engaged with his national team. The 27-year-old footballer expressed remorse during the court proceedings, apologizing for his actions. Atal clarified that his intention was to convey a “message of peace” and admitted that he did not watch the entire 35-second video before posting it.

In response to the legal developments, Atal has been suspended from playing by his club, Nice, with the suspension effective “until further notice.” Additionally, the Professional Football League (LFP) imposed a seven-match ban on the footballer. This significant penalty has raised questions about Atal’s future in the professional football arena and the potential impact on his career.

Despite the legal setback, Atal had recently earned a spot in Algeria’s squad for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament scheduled to commence on January 13, 2024. The footballer’s participation in the tournament now faces uncertainty due to the imposed suspension and legal consequences.

This incident underscores the broader issue of the responsibilities and consequences associated with athletes’ conduct on social media, as their actions can have far-reaching implications beyond the sports arena.

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