Unia welcomes conviction for vandalism in Jewish district

25 June 2018
Area of action: Society
Grounds of discrimination: Racism

Unia welcomes the conviction by the Antwerp criminal court of the man who plagued the Jewish district. Unia believed there was a clear hatred motive behind his actions, which is why it joined the action as a civil claimant. Unia regularly draws attention to the need to investigate cases of anti-Semitism or holocaust denial.

‘We felt that these actions were clearly driven by hatred. The man was specifically targeting Jews and their faith. With his destructive rampages, he was guilty of harassing the Jewish community. In addition, we believed that his vandalism offered very clear proof of incitement to hatred or violence against that community. The judge agreed with our arguments,’ says Unia director Els Keytsman.

Fifty-six reported incidents                                                                                        

More anti-Semitic and holocaust denial incidents were reported to Unia in 2017. ‘In total, we counted 56 incidents, mostly abuse and threats. On four occasions we had to work with people who had been targets for violence because they were Jewish,’ says Keytsman. ‘Unia is also a civil party in a case that starts this year: that concerning the deadly attack on the Jewish Museum on 24 May 2014.’

The man has now been given eighteen months in prison, eight of which are suspended, and a suspended fine of 1,600 euros. ‘Reporting hate incidents makes sense, as this judgment underlines.’

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