Former Parliament Member Receives One-Year Prison Sentence

( – Dries Van Langenhove is a far-right activist and former member of parliament for Vlaams Belang, a nationalist right-wing party in Belgium. Langenhove even founded his own conservative party, Schild & Vrienden, known for its stance on strict border control, anti-immigration views, and far-right nationalist ideology. In 2018, a documentary highlighted some of the party’s private chats and its founder was recently held to account.

On March 12, Breitbart News reported that the Ghent Criminal Court found that Langenhove was obsessed with “Nazi ideas,” stating he was determined to “undermine democratic society.” For his crime, the court sentenced the former parliament member to one year in prison and a $17,500 fine. The activist is also barred from holding public office for an entire decade.

According to Het Laatste Nieuws, thousands of messages in private chat groups amongst party members, including Langenhove, were rife with racism, cult violence, and Holocaust denials. There were also online lynching campaigns in those online channels. While the defense tried to argue that the discussions were in a private group and not meant for the public, the court disagreed. It stated that groups on Facebook and Discord equate to “public places” because they are accessible to everyone.

The Facebook group has at least 750 members and the Discord channels were used by at least 164 people. The activist’s defense team also argued the communications shared were just jokes, but the court rejected those claims as well. The so-called jokes targeted various groups based on race, skin color, ethnicity, descent, and nationality.

Breitbart reported that several European countries, including Belgium, where it is a crime to deny or celebrate the Holocaust. The memes shared on the social media platforms showed Langenhove wanted to replace the country’s current society and “replace it with his social model of white supremacy” — the markings of Nazi ideology.

Vlaams Belang chairman Tom Van Grieken spoke out against the verdict, stating, “Belgian justice is rotten through and through.” However, several societal organizations were happy with the verdict, calling it a “historic victory.”

~Here’s to Our Liberty!

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