Schild & Vrienden case to be heard on 12 September

Schild & Vrienden case to be heard on 12 September
President of Schild & Vrienden, Dries Van Langenhove. Credit: Belga

The Schild & Vrienden case, in which former federal MP Dries Van Langenhove and six others are facing charges including Holocaust denial, was brought before the Ghent Correctional Court on Tuesday.

The court wants the case to be heard on 12 September and did not grant the parties any additional time.

The East Flanders public prosecutor’s office had opened an investigation after a report broadcast by VRT on 5 September 2018 disclosed racist, sexist and anti-Semitic conversations involving Schild & Vrienden, the Flemish nationalist youth movement founded by Van Langenhove.

The far-right parliamentarian was formally charged in June 2019, and later released on conditions. One of these was to visit the Dossin Barracks in Mechelen, from where more than 25,000 Belgian Jews and Roma were deported during the Second World War to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

In March 2021, the House lifted his parliamentary immunity.

The Ghent Council Chamber had referred the 'independent member' of parliament from the Vlaams Belang group and the six other suspects to the criminal court to answer for violations of the racism law and arms legislation, but not for Holocaust denial.

After two civil parties appealed against the dismissal of the Holocaust denial charge, the Ghent Indictment Chamber finally found that the politician was indeed responsible for the Holocaust denial statements made on the various channels of the Schild & Vrienden group.

Van Langenhove has in the meantime put an end to his mandate as a member of the House of Representatives.

Ghent University, the Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities, the League for Human Rights and the Institute for Equality of Women and Men have filed civil suits against the seven.

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