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Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

French Prosecutors Demand Suspended Sentence for Algerian Footballer


Wed 20 Dec 2023 | 04:11 PM
By Ahmad El-Assasy

The Public Prosecutor's Office in Nice, southeastern France, has requested a 10-month suspended prison sentence and a €45,000 fine for Algerian international footballer Youcef Atal, a defender for OGC Nice, following his posting of a 35-second video related to the war between Israel and Hamas.

 Atal faces charges of "defending terrorism." Pending the verdict, the player has been placed under judicial supervision with an €80,000 bail and restricted from leaving French territory, except for professional football-related reasons.

The prosecution on Monday demanded the sentence for Atal, accused of "defending terrorism" after sharing the video. 

The Deputy Public Prosecutor stated, "There is nothing related to peace in any of these 35 seconds," considering the suspended sentence as a "warning punishment" to encourage the player to think before any future postings.

"Serious Facts, Not to Be Underestimated"

Deputy Public Prosecutor Mégane Chouteau viewed the matter as "serious facts that should not be underestimated. Sharing a video means... highlighting the comments" written on it. She requested that the punishment be published for a month on Atal's Instagram page.

The 27-year-old player defended himself in court, stating he had not watched the entire video and reshared it without full awareness of its content. He now awaits the verdict due on January 3rd.

Pending the judgment, Atal has been placed under judicial supervision with an €80,000 bail, with travel restrictions outside France, except for reasons related to his profession as a football player.

"I Know My Post Shocked Many People"

Atal quickly deleted the post and apologized, saying, "I know my post shocked many people, and that was not my intention, and I apologize for that." 

He added that he wants "to clarify my point of view without any ambiguity: I strongly condemn all forms of violence anywhere in the world, and I support all victims."

However, his club decided on October 18 to suspend him until further notice, while the Disciplinary Committee of the French Football League suspended him for seven matches on October 26.