French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala will spend two months behind bars after a Belgian court sentenced him for anti-Semitic comments he made during a show in Belgium.
The comic, who has several convictions for similar offences, is the originator of the ‘quenelle’ hand gesture, which is widely seen as an inverted Nazi salute.
This week he was fined more than £6,000 and sentenced to two months in prison following a show in Liege in 2012, in which he called Hitler a “sweet kid” and a “joyful braggart”. He also questioned the existence of Nazi gas chambers and described the Talmud as a “s*** book”.
Eric Lemmens, a lawyer for Belgium’s Jewish organisations, said: “All the accusations against Dieudonné were established – both incitement to hatred and hate speech but also Holocaust denial.”
He added: “This is more than satisfying. This is a major victory.”
Dieudonné denies that he is anti-Semitic, but rather “anti-establishment,” however he has consistently fallen foul of both French and European law.
Earlier this month the European Court of Human Rights ruled against him in another case, saying freedom of speech did not mean his performances could be racist or anti-Semitic.
He also caused offence earlier this year, following attacks on the Charlie Hebdo office and a kosher store in Paris, when millions campaigned for free speech under the banner ‘Je suis Charlie.’
After Dieudonné took to Facebook to say: “I feel like Charlie Coulibaly,” referring to one of the gunmen, he was found guilty of condoning terrorism.