Prosecutors claimed French police detained Algerian international Youcef Atal, who plays for Ligue 1 football club Nice, in an inquiry into possible “justification of terrorism” after he uploaded a social media message about the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Last month, the 27-year-old defender was banned for seven games for the post, which he swiftly deleted and apologized for.
Following a request from the local prefect and mayor of Nice, the public prosecutor in Nice began an investigation.
Prosecutors later stated that Atal will be tried for inciting to religious hate at the Nice criminal court on December 18.
He had already been suspended by his club “until further notice”.
Despite the player’s apologies, the OGC Nice opted to “take immediate” action, “prior” to any sanctions imposed by athletic or judicial agencies, “given the nature of the publication shared and its seriousness.”
The Nice public prosecutor announced in mid-October the launch of an investigation into the “justification of terrorism.”
Atal has been chastised for posting a video on Instagram of a Palestinian preacher allegedly inciting for violence against Jews.
AFP was unable to independently verify its content.
After Hamas launched significant attacks on Israel on October 7, France, which has sizable Jewish and Muslim communities, increased security.
According to Israeli sources, the attacks killed 1,200 people, the majority of whom were civilians, and approximately 240 individuals were taken prisoner.
According to the Palestinian territory’s Hamas administration, Israel’s retaliatory air and ground offensive in Gaza has killed almost 15,000 Palestinians, including thousands of children.