Former Vlaams Belang MP Dries Van Langenhove to be tried for Holocaust denial

Former Vlaams Belang MP Dries Van Langenhove to be tried for Holocaust denial
President of Schild & Vrienden, Dries Van Langenhove. Credit: Belga

Dries Van Langenhove, the former Federal MP for the Flemish far-right Vlaams Belang party, will have to appear before the Correctional Court for denying the Holocaust, the Ghent Chamber of Indictment announced on Thursday.

The Chamber decided on Thursday which suspects should answer to the Correctional Court following the criminal investigation after a VRT Pano report from 2018 showed that racist and antisemitic messages were shared in secret chat groups of a far-right youth movement called Schild & Vrienden, VRT reports.

Van Langenhove was officially placed under suspicion in June 2019 as the founder of Schild & Vrienden. He was released on several conditions – including that he follow a guided visit to the Kazerne Dossin Holocaust memorial (used as a transit camp during World War II, from which arrested Jews and Romani people were sent to concentration camps).

In summer 2022, the Council Chamber already ruled that Van Langenhove should be tried in court for violations of Belgium's weapon laws (for possession of pepper spray), as well as violations of the anti-racism law, including for inciting hatred and spreading racist ideas.

At that time, the Council Chamber ruled that five other members of Schild & Vrienden should also be tried for denying, minimising or condoning the Holocaust. But the ruling did not apply to Van Langehove himself, as he had not posted those messages himself.

Several civil parties appealed the decision with the Chamber of Indictment taking their side and referring Van Langenhove to the Correctional Court as well, De Morgen reports.

Earlier this month, on 4 February, Van Langenhove stepped down as an MP in the Federal Chamber.

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