Kopar Khairane

Nice Defender from OGC Youcef Atal Receives Eight-Month Suspension for Posting Online Anti-Semitic Content

<p>Youcef Atal, a defender for Nice, was fined 45,000 euros ($49,000) and handed an eight-month suspended jail term on Wednesday for posting an offensive statement online.</p>
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<p>According to French media sources, he was found guilty of inciting hate in October after disseminating an antisemitic message during the worldwide outcry over the Israel-Hamas conflict.</p>
<p>The video was posted on Atal’s 3.2 million-follower Instagram account, just after the assault on October 7 that left 1,139 people dead. Atal plays for Nice in the Ligue 1 league.</p>
<p>The preacher, Mahmoud Al Hasanat, first discussed the situation of the children in Gaza in a clip taken from the film.</p>
<p>Prosecutors claimed to have discovered a further passage in which he prayed for God to “send the Jews a black day” and to “steady the hands” of Gaza residents in case they were to “throw stones.”</p>
<p>The 27-year-old defender was sidelined by his team while authorities looked into the event for possible “justification of terrorism.” He promptly removed the post and apologized.</p>
<p>However, after seeing the video and speaking with the player, they decided against carrying out that line of inquiry and instead accused him of “incitement to religious hatred.”</p>
<p>The player is the target of two organizations’ legal lawsuits: the Jewish Observatory of France and the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (Licra).</p>
<p>He has been placed under court surveillance and is only permitted to travel to other countries to play professional football.</p>
<p>The French soccer league has previously punished Atal for seven games due to the tweet.</p>
<p>Atal, 27, who also represents Algeria in international competition, issued an apology after it was said that he had reposted and then removed a video in which a Palestinian preacher made derogatory remarks against Jews.</p>
<p>Atal expressed his understanding that his message may have shocked some individuals in an Instagram post, adding that he opposes all types of violence “no matter where in the world.”</p>
<p>Atal is the subject of a preliminary inquiry launched by the public prosecutor’s office in Nice in October on allegations of “defending terrorism” and “public incitement to hatred or violence because of a particular religion.”</p>
<p>From joining Nice in 2018, Atal has played in 117 games and scored 12 goals.</p>