Under the jaded gaze of her client accused of inciting hatred, the lawyer of an influential neo-Nazi tried to convince the court that it was not the Nazis who exterminated the Jews during the Second World War.
“I don't think that in the basic ideology, we wanted to exterminate Jews. That they were exterminated is one thing. Were they because they were Nazis? I do not believe that. […] I think there is a debate to be had on it, ”launched defense lawyer Hélène Poussard.
The latter spoke after the pleadings of the Crown in the case of Gabriel Sohier Chaput, 35, who is accused of having fomented hatred by making Nazi comments on an American website popular with white supremacists.< /p>
The lawyer thus informed the judge that she refused to admit that it was because of Nazi ideology that the Jews were exterminated during the Second World War.
< p>“I think that if people died in a concentration camp, it was because we wanted to save money. That's what I learned. […] It was cheaper to gas them than to bring them to their destination,” she continued.
“Aren't you serious, master? I think it's better for you to stop, I think you're overstepping the bounds of reasonableness,” Judge Manlio Del Negro immediately warned her.
Roll your eyes
For his part, the accused was only present by video and seemed bored by the proceedings, his eyes heavy at times. He sighed or rolled his eyes during the oral arguments of the Crown, Me Patrick Lafrenière.
The latter tried at length to convince the judge today that the remarks made by Sohier Chaput, which the accused defended as “satirical”, were rather an incitement to hatred.
“ There is nothing in the format or the lyrics to suggest that it is a joke,” hammered Me Lafrenière.
Recall that the accused, who signed his publications under the aka Zeiger, notably posted comments like “2017 will be a year of action” and “non-stop Nazism, everywhere, until all the streets are flooded with the tears of our enemies”.
< p>Lack of credibility
According to his testimony, the accused said he did not believe that the “real Nazis” as in the time of the Second World War still existed today and that he it was more of a “Hollywood invention,” Crown said, saying his claim lacked credibility.
“It is impossible that an articulate, informed and intelligent guy did not know that in some people, [his remarks] would foment hatred. He blinded himself on purpose, he added. It is ironic Nazism, which is not ultimately ironic. He really wants to stir up hatred.”
The lawyer believes that by their scope and the context of their publication – in the Daily Stormer, a right-wing site where racist, homophobic and misogynistic, according to him – the remarks are “clearly hate propaganda”.
“Being racist is not a crime […], however, recalled the magistrate. The defendant's comments for the most part are racist, inappropriate, rude and inappropriate comments, that's for sure. But does that constitute a crime?”
The judge also repeatedly rebuffed the Crown, which could have brought in experts to testify about Nazi ideology and the Daily Stormer mandate.
At the same time in front of the Montreal courthouse, a few dozen people gathered with signs to denounce the unacceptability of the defendant's comments online.
“It's not true that we can say everything behind a screen. Above all, it is a message against hatred that must be sent. It is absolutely useless and it is not ok to give hatred to minorities”, underlines Sao, 17 years old.
Simon, an anti-fascist activist, deplores the border blurring the line between humor and hate speech that supremacist groups play on the web.
“It has no place. These people use the discourse on freedom of expression, forgetting that it stops where it hurts people, where we call for murder and hatred of minorities, “he hammered.  ;
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Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my email@example.com 1-800-268-7128