Youcef Atal: Nice’s Algeria defender given eight-month suspended sentence for inciting religious hatred

Youcef Atal
Youcef Atal joined Nice in 2018 from Algerian club Paradou AC

Algeria defender Youcef Atal has been handed an eight-month suspended sentence by a French court for inciting religious hatred in a social media post about the conflict in Israel and Gaza.

The Nice criminal court ruled that Atal must also pay a €45,000 (£38,886) fine for posting an antisemitic video on his Instagram account.

The 27-year-old is suspended “until further notice” by his club side Nice.

He has been selected in the Algeria squad for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Atal will also pay for details of his conviction to be published in regional daily Nice-Matin and national newspaper Le Monde.

Having deleted the post and apologised the day after making the original post, Atal apologised again during the court hearings and said he did not watch the full 35-second video and had wanted to send “a message of peace”.

However, that argument did not convince the prosecutors.

“Sharing a video means being party to its message and lending it visibility,” prosecutor Meggi Choutia told the court.

“There is no talk of peace at any moment in these 35 seconds.”

Atal has played three times for Algeria since the post and is set to feature at the Cup of Nations, which begins on 13 January in Ivory Coast.

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