PARIS (Jan. 20)
Two French skinheads who desecrated a Jewish cemetery in the southeastern city of Lyon last September were sentenced Monday to eight months in jail.
The two soccer fans had been drinking heavily in a bar after watching a soccer match and later broke into the city’s Jewish cemetery where they broke gravestones and daubed them with anti-Semitic slogans such as “Adolf Hitler is our father” and “Death to the Jews.”
The two youths, Gregory Tomitch, 19, and Nicolas Mounier, 20, were arrested a few weeks after the episode during scuffles with police.
During the trial, the two skinheads did little to conceal their anti-Semitic attitudes. They described their behavior as “nationalistic” and explained their actions in the Jewish cemetery as a “simple joke” meant to “bother people.”
Tomitch added that he was attracted to Adolf Hitler’s ideas.
In addition to the eight-month sentence, the court gave them an eight-month suspended sentence and ordered a three-year probation period.
The two were also barred indefinitely from soccer matches and ordered to pay fines of about $2,000 to each of four plaintiffs: the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism, the local Jewish community, the Movement Against Racism and for Peace, and the city of Lyon.
Alain Jakubowicz, who represented the plaintiffs and who is also a close aide of Lyon’s mayor, Michel Noir, told the court that it was judging “kids, but not kid stuff.”
Comparing recent events with Germany in the 1930s, Jakubowicz warned that “it was the very same youngsters, in flight jackets and army boots, who in 1933 threw stones through the windows of Jewish shops.”