Canadian Anti-Hate Network
A Canadian man responsible for writing and distributing some of the most influential literature in modern fascism has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for wilfully promoting hatred against Jewish people.
The CBC reports that Judge Manlio Del Negro categorized his sentence against Gabriel Sohier-Chaput as one of the harshest ever delivered for the willful promotion of hatred.
Sohier-Chaput, known online as “Zeiger” and “Charles Chapel,” was found guilty by a Quebec court earlier in the year, over two years after he was first charged. During his post-trial hearings, according to No Borders Media, an independent media outlet that has attended all of the legal proceedings to date, both the prosecution and defence had agreed on a sentence of just three months.
Del Negro disagreed, stating such a sentence would “trivialize” the crimes. The maximum that can be imposed under the law is two years.
Beyond 15 months in prison, the sentence includes three years of probation and a ban on owning weapons. Sohier-Chaput will also not be able to use social media while on probation or publish articles anywhere they can be seen by the public.
Sohier-Chaput’s previous lawyer planned to appeal the guilty verdict. His current representation has promised to do the same with the sentence, according to No Borders Media.
Despite being charged for the content of only one article, Sohier-Chaput was responsible for penning hundreds of posts on the Daily Stormer—a prominent and prolific publisher of racist, antisemitic, and neo-Nazi content.
Once a tech consultant living in Montréal’s Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie neighbourhood, as Zeiger, Sohier-Chaput and the collective works of precious few other writers contributed to the library of the openly fascist internet forum Iron March and have become standard ideological training for a crowd of predominantly troubled young men. Several of the texts Zeiger contributed to became—and remain to this day—required reading for members of groups like the Atomwaffen Division (AWD) and the enduring “skull mask network.”
AWD, and James Mason himself, have since been declared designated terrorist entities in Canada.
Zeiger operated completely in secret until exposed by the Montreal Gazette in 2018. Montréal Antifasciste, a collective of antifascist activists who assisted the Gazette in their investigation, has also published the definitive article on Sohier-Chaput and his activities within the fascist movement.
The defence reportedly argued that the between 800 to 1,000 articles written for the Daily Stormer were in fact satire, and not meant to be taken seriously. Sohier-Chaput also claimed that the racial slurs in the article had been added by his editor.
Only one article was brought into evidence by the prosecution over the course of the trial.
“Non-stop Nazism, everywhere, until the very streets are flooded with the tears of our enemies,” part of the article in question reads.
Eta Yudin, Vice President of Quebec’s Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) provided a Community Impact Statement to the court in July. Yudin was present during the sentencing.
“As antisemitism continues to rise worldwide, the court’s guilty verdict in January, along with today’s sentencing, sends a message that the anonymity of the internet is no shield for those looking to promote hate,” she said in a release. “We are encouraged the court took seriously the criminal nature of Sohier-Chaput’s vile online hate propaganda that featured antisemitic slurs, trivialized the Holocaust, and promoted hatred.”
Zeiger’s Lingering Impact
Interestingly enough, Zeiger’s trial has been met with little interest from the movement he once was so dedicated to promoting.
Most Canadians have likely never heard of Sohier-Chaput, or his alias, but international white power groups not only admire him, they have made his books required reading for entrance, including those that have committed open and wanton acts of violence, murder, and terrorism.
The Southern Poverty Law Center highlighted nine fascist groups in nine countries that were affiliated with or supported by Iron March until the site finally went down in 2017. Not the least among these is the Siege community, named after the book of another prominent white nationalist figure James Mason, which encourages lone-wolf attacks and small cells of resistance rather than large collective militias. Sohier-Chaput served as editor for the third edition of Siege, receiving a personal thank you from Mason himself in the publication.
The same adherents who treat Siege as the actionable blueprint for waging a guerilla war against the state turn to Iron March for their ideological and spiritual underpinning.
Besides the violence Sohier-Chaput’s words have inspired, his time as a content creator both on Iron March and the still online Daily Stormer was spent openly advocating for the elimination of what he viewed as the enemies of the white race.
Sohier-Chaput was on the run for two years, and the public does not know where he was -- or who was hiding him.
Whether it is his appearance at the deadly 2017 “United the Right” in Charlottesville, his failed attempts to sustain a Montréal fascist book club, his various podcast appearances, or the innumerable pages, posts, and PDFs that bear the name Zeiger, he has been at the centre of pushing his own brand of the ideology forward into ready hands.