Friday, December 18, 2015

Leader of France's far-right party risks jail over beheading pictures on Twitter

Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right party National Front (FN), could be jailed for three years over pictures of a beheaded Islamic State (IS) hostage she posted on her Twitter account, according to local media reports.

Nanterre court opened late on Wednesday a preliminary investigation against Le Pen for "spreading violent images."

If the facts are established, the anti-immigrant politician risks being sentenced to jail and paying a fine worth 75,000 euros (81,040 US dollars).

On Wednesday, Le Pen, whose party is gaining increasing voter support, posted one day ago on her Twitter account pictures of IS victims, among which was a beheaded corpse of a man kidnapped by IS in a prisoner-style orange tracksuit with his severed head placed on his chest.

LePen spoke to Europe1 about the preliminary investigation, saying: "What are they going to do? Take legal action against me for defaming Daesh? (They) can throw all the police in the world on my trail, I will never let National Front voters be insulted in such a manner."

Le Pen is said to have posted the pictures online to protest against Gilles Kepel, an academic who compared FN and IS and their politics of exclusion during a TV interview.

Challenging to book a ticket to the Elysee Palace in 2017, the FN leader has been under fire due to her tweet which, according to French Premier Manuel Valls, was "a moral and political error."

"Those pictures are monstrous," he tweeted, adding it showed "a lack of respect for the victims."

However, LePen was quoted by local media as saying that the picture of American hostage James Foley, who was executed by IS in 2014, "can be accessed by anyone on Google. I learned this morning that his family has asked for it to be removed and of course I took it down immediately."

Meanwhile, on BFMTV news channel, Francois Bayrou, the leader of the centrist MoDem party, denounced Le Pen's "obscene" move to publish pictures of such nature online.

"We forget that the parents have lost their child," he said, saying the pictures should not be used in election arguments.

    Xinhua - globaltimes.cn
  18/12/15

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