Nice’s Atal gets suspended jail term for ‘hate post’

Algeria international Youcef Atal has been handed an eight-month suspended prison sentence and a €45,000 fine by a court in Nice for a social media repost about the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The court said the social media repost incited hatred on the grounds of religion.

Defender Atal, who has been at French team Nice since 2018, was suspended by the Ligue 1 club in October after the media post, which he deleted.

Hamas fighters killed 1,200 Israelis on Oct. 7 in the deadliest Palestinian militant attack in Israel’s history, prompting an Israeli retaliatory ground and air offensive which is now approaching its third month.

The Palestinian death toll had reached 22,313 by Wednesday, the Gaza health ministry said.

The day after the Hamas Oct. 7 attack, Atal republished a 35-second video by a Palestinian preacher who called on God to send “a black day over the Jews,” French newspaper Nice-Matin reported.

He has apologised for the deleted post.

“I am aware that my post shocked many people, which wasn’t my intention, and I apologise,” 27-year-old Atal said on Instagram at the time.

Contacted by Reuters, Atal’s lawyer had no immediate comment. He has been selected by his country for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations in the Ivory Coast, which begins on Jan. 13.

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