Prosecutors have called for French right-wing leader Marine Le Pen to be tried for tweeting pictures of atrocities committed by the Islamic State group, judicial sources said.
As VoE reports, Le Pen shared the gruesome images in December 2015, a few weeks after ISIS jihadists killed 130 people in attacks in Paris – and after a French journalist drew a comparison between the jihadist group and her party. Her move sparked widespread condemnation in France.
One of the pictures showed the body of James Foley, an American journalist beheaded by the Sunni extremists. Another showed a man in an orange jumpsuit being run over by a tank and the third showed a Jordanian pilot being burned alive in a cage.
‘Daesh is this!’ Le Pen wrote in a caption, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.
She is facing a possible three year jail term and a fine of EUR75,000 if an investigating magistrate decides a trial should take place for ‘circulating violent pictures liable to bee seen by children’.
Prosecutors demanded that another member of her National Rally party, Gilbert Collard, also be tried on similar charges.
Le Pen, who lost to Emmanuel Macron in the 2017 presidential elections, was stripped of her parliamentary immunity over the pictures and thereafter charged with circulating violent messages.
Last year, she expressed outrage after the investigative magistrate called for her to undergo psychiatric tests in connection with her tweeting.
She has denounced the case against her as a violation of her freedom of expression.
This is likely to put further pressure on Le Pen, 50, who already faces legal problems over alleged misuse of EU parliamentary funds.
Notably, this newfound pressure to prosecute Le Pen comes as her (renamed) party, The National Rally, is running a close second to Macron’s Republic on the Move (LREM) party in the European parliamentary elections to be held May 23 to 26. An Ifop Fiducial opinion poll in January found that 23 per cent of voters said they would back LREM in the elections, with 21 per cent saying they would support the National Rally.