France’s Le Pen to stand trial for tweeting images of gruesome ISIS killings
Fresh from a major win in the European parliamentary elections, French politician Marine Le Pen could face a heavy fine and up to three years in prison for “disseminating violent images” of ISIS atrocities.
The leader of the National Rally party will face charges over three unfiltered images of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) executions that she tweeted out in December 2015, which the authorities say contained “violent messages that incite terrorism or pornography or seriously harm human dignity,” AFP reported on Wednesday, citing a source in the French judiciary. There was no word on the date of the trial.
Given Le Pen’s hardline position against Islamic extremism, it should come as no surprise that the controversial tweets weren’t actually intended as an endorsement. They came in response to French journalist Jean-Jacques Bourdin comparing her nationalist rhetoric to that of IS. Le Pen said at the time she felt the images served as a reminder of the serious nature of Bourdin’s flippant comparison.
The European Parliament voted to strip Le Pen of immunity in February 2017, clearing the way for proceedings against her.
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Le Pen spoke out against the pending court case on Twitter, saying that she was being targeted despite being a clear and vocal critic of the terrorist organization, while the French government continues to “welcome jihadists and their families with open arms” in the form of mass migration.
Cette poursuite honteuse contre ceux qui dénoncent DAESH tombe au moment où le gouvernement accueille les djihadistes et leurs familles à bras ouverts. Ça en dit long sur l’état de déliquescence politique et morale de nos « élites » dirigeantes. MLPhttps://t.co/UsVLUi0dtI
— Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) June 12, 2019
The 50-year-old trained lawyer has also indicated that the case is a violation of her freedom of expression.
The prosecutor’s office in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre had launched the investigation against Le Pen as well as her colleague Gilbert Collard, who posted similar content, for the same reason, on the same day.
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