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Lawyer accused of inciting hatred is acquitted
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Lawyer accused of inciting hatred is acquitted

12.11.2021
Gaston Vogel wrote an open letter to the Mayor of Luxembourg about human trafficking and people begging for money
Luxembourg courts
Luxembourg courts
Photo credit: Serge Waldbillig

By Maximilian Richard and Kate Oglesby

A lawyer accused of inciting hatred after he wrote a controversial open letter to a newspaper about people begging for money and human trafficking has been acquitted.

Gaston Vogel wrote an open letter to the Mayor of Luxembourg City, Lydie Polfer, in August 2015 which was published by broadcaster RTL and the Lëtzebuerger Journal newspaper as a letter to the editor. 

The 84-year-old said he wanted to draw attention to problems in connection with people from Romania begging, and organised crime but used words such as stink (paunteurs) and scum (racaille).

The publication of the letter led a French NGO, the Human Rights League, to file a lawsuit against Vogel and the media outlets that published the letter, for inciting hatred. Vogel always denied the charges.

All three defendants were acquitted on Thursday. Vogel’s defence attorney said she was very satisfied with the verdict and that it was the only acceptable outcome.

Chief Public Prosecutor, Georges Oswald, had requested a fine against the accused lawyer in his criminal complaint. The prosecution has four days to appeal the decision. 


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