South Africa

Man found guilty of crimen injuria over anti-Semitic tweets

Man found guilty of crimen injuria over anti-Semitic tweets

Sticks and stones, but words also hurt. Twitter. Picture: iStock

Letsoalo will appear in court on Friday, 30 October, for his mitigation hearing and sentencing. 

Matome Letsoalo has been found guilty of crimen injuria by the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday after he engaged in anti-Semitic hate speech on his Twitter account.

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) laid a complaint in 2018 against Letsoalo following his tweets.

SAJBD national director Wendy Kahn welcomed the court’s ruling, saying hate speech would not be tolerated.

“This outcome sends a strong message that threatening and hate-filled attacks on our community will not be tolerated and that the SAJBD will do everything necessary to bring those responsible to justice, no matter how long it takes” she said.

The organisation’s legal representative in the case, Ian Levitt, also welcomed the ruling, despite the number of delays.

“This matter has been going on for over two years, but despite several delays mostly brought on by Covid-19, we were not swayed in our determination to have Letsaolo convicted.

“We will continue to assist in the prosecution of those who attack our community, seemingly with impunity and we hope that this conviction will be a lesson to those who do so,” Levitt added.

Letsoalo will appear in court on Friday, 30 October, for his mitigation hearing and sentencing.

Background

On 21 June 2018, the SAJBD was tagged in a post from Letsoalo reading: “@SAJBD The Holocaust will be like a picnic when we are done with all you Zionist bastards. Fuck all of you.”

According to the organisation, the comment by Letsoalo was accompanied by an image of Holocaust victims.

In a second post later that morning, Letsoalo tweeted: “@SAJBD Must get decimated. We can’t have Scandanavian (sic) rats, fake Jews, Zionist bastards running our economy”.

In subsequent Twitter exchanges with Jewish community members who challenged him, Letsoalo posted further threatening and abusive messages, prompting the SAJBD to lay a charge of crimen injuria against him.

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