Sept. 2, 2020 – By JANICE ARNOLD
MONTREAL—B’nai Brith Canada is welcoming the news that a court date has been set for an alleged Montreal-based promoter of white supremacy, almost two years after a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Gabriel Sohier Chaput, 33, was identified in media reports as having been one of the most prolific propagandists for racist ideology in North America, notably through the U.S.-based far-right site Daily Stormer, under the pseudonym Zeiger.
The Montreal Gazette reported on Aug. 28 that Chaput faces one charge of willfully promoting hatred against an identifiable group in 2016, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.
Chaput’s lawyer made a brief appearance in Quebec Court in Montreal this month, when a court date was set for Nov. 24.
Montreal police issued the warrant for Chaput on Oct. 30, 2018, when they indicated his whereabouts were unknown. He was alleged to have engaged in hate speech and attempted to recruit others to his cause.
It was a Gazette investigation, published in May 2018, that provided evidence that Chaput and Zeiger were the same person.
Chaput’s last known address was in Montreal’s Rosemont-La Petite Patrie borough, and he had worked as a computer consultant. Chaput disappeared after the newspaper’s series, and police believed he might have left the country.
Chaput had been on the radar of Montreal anti-fascist activists, who identified him from a Vice News documentary from a 2017 far-right rally in Charlottesville, Va., which he attended.
Following the Gazette articles, B’nai Brith filed a complaint with the Montreal police hate crimes unit. The organization characterizes Chaput as having been “one of the internet’s leading neo-Nazi influencers.”
The Gazette detailed how Chaput tried to recruit other people to his cause through his own encrypted social media platforms and in-person in Montreal at various venues.
“We are pleased that the wheels of justice have begun turning,” stated B’nai Brith CEO Michael Mostyn in a press release. “Dangerous incitement must face criminal consequences. Working to incite hatred and violence against fellow citizens is utterly abhorrent and has no place in Canadian society…What (Chaput) did must not be taken lightly in the eyes of the law.”
* See related story today, Defence Minister Pledges Action on Racists in Military