Lawyers for accused killer do the quenelle

By Michel Gurfinkiel, August 7, 2014
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Outside Brussels' Jewish museum after the attack

Outside Brussels' Jewish museum after the attack

Mehdi Nemmouche, the French jihadi who has been extradited to Belgium to stand trial for the massacre in Brussels' Jewish Museum on May 24, will be defended by far-right lawyers.

Anti-racism website Resistances.be last week published a photo of Belgian lawyers Henri Laquay and Sebastien Courtoy apparently performing the quenelle - the inverted Nazi salute - along with antisemitic French comedian Dieudonné Mbala Mbala in 2012.

In an interview with Le Soir, a mainstream Belgian newspaper, Laquay said that there was nothing "Nazi" about the quenelle: "It is merely giving the finger to the system, in a peaceful and humoristic way."

In National Socialist Germany, "the system" was code for the allegedly "Jewish" Weimar Republic.

Courtoy, Laquay and Dieudonné

Courtoy, Laquay and Dieudonné

It is in use again in European far-right political circles to describe Western democracy, Nato and the European Union.

Laquay's father, who had the same first and surname and was also a lawyer, was a far-right politician in the 1990s and a legal adviser to the Belgian National Front.

Laquay Jr himself ran as a Belgian National Front candidate in 1999. He is the founder of Jus et Patria, a international association of "nationalist" lawyers. The far-right, fundamentalist Catholic lawyer Wallerand de Saint-Just d'Autingues, an adviser to Jean-Marie Le Pen and a defender of Serbian war criminals, is a member.

Courtoy has not been directly involved in politics but has repeatedly defended far-right politicians in Belgium, including Laurent Louis, who was tried for slandering several public personalities. A one-time member of the conservative People's Party, Louis later embraced antisemitism, befriended Dieudonné and even joined a Belgian Islamist party.

Both Laquay and Courtoy have defended Islamist organisations and far-right militants involved in abusing Jews or Israeli organisations.

    Last updated: 6:45pm, August 7 2014