French police arrest Nice footballer Youcef Atal over anti-Israel post

27-year-old Algerian defender on Thursday, November 23, arrested on charges for "provoking racial hatred on grounds of religion".

The French police have arrested Nice footballer Youcef Atal over his social media posts, in which he declared his support for Palestine against Israel in the ongoing war.

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27-year-old Algerian defender on Thursday, November 23, was arrested on charges of “provoking racial hatred on grounds of religion”.

On Friday, November 24, he was released on bail of 80,000 euros (Rs 72,98,038) and placed under judicial supervision pending trial. He is only allowed to leave France for international football games, AFP reported.

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On October 14, Atal shared a video of Palestinian preacher Mahmoud al-Hasanat, who calls for God to ‘send Jewish people a dark day’. Later, he deleted the post and apologized.

“I am aware that my post shocked many people, which wasn’t my intention, and I apologise,” Atal wrote on Instagram story on Sunday, October 15.

“I want to clarify my point of view without any ambiguity: I strongly denounce all forms of violence, wherever in the world, and I support all victims.”

On October 16, the Public Prosecutor in Nice opened a preliminary investigation against him.

On October 18, Atal was suspended until further notice, while the National Football Ethics Council referred the matter to the league’s disciplinary committee. On October 25, the French Football Federation announced a seven-match suspension.

Since the start of the Israel and Hamas war on October 7, many Muslim football players have been subjected to criticism of their support for the Palestinian people on social media platforms, such as Karim Benzema and Anwar El Ghazi.

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