CanWest News Service
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
MONTREAL-In one of only three such cases ever heard in Canada, a Montreal neo-Nazi has been given a six-month prison sentence for willfully promoting hatred towards blacks and Jews on his website.
Calling Jean-Sebastien Presseault's opinions ''vile'' and ''nauseating,'' a Quebec court judge sent the heavily tattooed man back to jail, only days after he finished serving time for threatening to kill the judge if he handed down an exemplary sentence.
The 24 tattoos themselves, including several Ku Klux Klan and Nazi symbols covering his torso, figure prominently in Justice Martin Vauclair's decision to give Presseault jail time, as opposed to a sentence served in the community, as the defence had hoped.
''The violence he inflicted on his own body to leave almost-indelible marks of his convictions testify as to his unresolved frustrations but also to his deep-seated racist and hateful beliefs,'' Vauclair said.
But first and foremost in his decision were the contents of the website Presseault, 27, operated for almost a year using a server in the U.S. A novel banned in Canada that inspired Timothy McVeigh's bombing of the Oklahoma City building was available on the site, as well as a racist video game, several examples of what the Crown dubbed ''hate music,'' and racist cartoons.
Moise Moghrabi, the president of B'nai Brith's league of human rights for the Quebec region, said considering this was a hard-core hatemonger with an extensive website, a one-year sentence would have been more appropriate.
''Presseault doesn't just dislike Jews and blacks -he wants to kill everybody,'' Moghrabi said. ''There is the question of punishment for Mr. Presseault but there is also the example to others.''
Given Presseault could be released from jail after serving one-sixth of his sentence -or one month -''it is not a very high price to pay,'' Moghrabi added.
A similar case in Calgary ended in September with a 16-month sentence for a man who operated a racist website. Unlike Presseault, however, he did not plead guilty.
A third man in B.C. has yet to be sentenced.
The website was only discovered when a U.S. citizen tried to cross the border into Canada with printouts from the site, deemed hate literature by Customs agents. The police investigation led to Presseault.
© CanWest News Service 2007