Saturday 01 April 2023

Community service and fines for threats against campaigner Sylvana Simons

A gavel in a courtroom.

Photo: Depositphotos

The maker of a short video featuring tv presenter turned politician Sylvana Simons as a lynching victim has been sentenced to 80 hours community service at the end of a trial of 22 people for making threats and discrimination.

Three other suspects were given community service sentences of 60 hours and several others fined up to €450 for making threats against Simons. One person was acquitted.

Thousands of people posted threats and insults against Simons last year, when she took part in anti-Zwarte Piet demonstrations and later announced she was going into politics.

Simons, who attended today’s verdict had been asked by the public prosecution department to indicate which of the 40,000 posts directed at her had the most impact. However, the department said this had no impact on the 22 cases which finally made it to court.

‘I want to see these people, because if you are threatened online, you don’t know where the threat comes from,’ she said ahead of the April court hearing. ‘It could be anyone, your neighbour or someone you said hello to on the street. That strengthens the feeling of not being safe.’

Simons said on Thursday that the court had sent out an important signal. ‘I hope that from now on people are aware that what they say can have great personal consequences,’ she said.

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