The European Parliament has deprived Marine Le Pen of parliamentary immunity due to the fact that she posted photos with scenes of ISIS violent acts.
On Thursday, the European Parliament has voted for deprivation of France’s presidential candidate Marine Le Pen‘s parliamentary immunity due to the fact that she posted several photos, showing scenes of violent acts, committed by terrorists of the Islamic State (IS) group, on her Twitter account, the Reuters news agency reported.
Earlier, on Tuesday, the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) approved this move by a large majority. As eurosceptic of the 5 Star Movement, lawmaker Laura Ferrara, said in a report, underpinning parliament’s decision, though the graphic photos, published by Le Pen, were easily accessible on other websites, “this does not alter the fact that their violent nature is likely to undermine human dignity.”
In December 2015, the leader of the National Front party published three graphic images of IS executions on her Twitter in protest against comparison of the National Front with terrorists of the group. One of the photos was showing American journalist James Foley, beheaded by terrorists.
The deprivation of parliamentary immunity means that now, a case on charges of distributing materials with particularly brutal scenes of violence can be initiated against Le Pen. As punishment for this crime, the National Front’s leader can face a fine of €75,000 ($78,930) and a penalty of three years in prison.
Le Pen’s immunity, shielded her from prosecution, was lifted just over a month before the first round of the French presidential election. The National Front’s leader has considered the move as political interference in the campaign and called for a moratorium on judicial investigations until the election period has passed.
In 2013, Le Pen has already lost her immunity for the first time. Then, in 2015, the politician was prosecuted for “incitement to discrimination over people’s religious beliefs”, as the National Front’s leader compared Muslims, praying in public, with the Nazi occupation of France during World War Two. Eventually, prosecutors recommended to drop the charges.
In addition to charges of “publishing violent images,” Le Pen also can face charges of financial fraud.
The European Parliament’s Financial Directorate sent her a notice, demanding to compensate a debt in the amount of €298,500 until January 31, 2017. This sum of money is the salary of Catherine Gris, a Le Pen’s assistant in the European Parliament, for 2010-2016. In addition, the European Parliament demanded Le Pen to reimburse €41,500 to compensate the salary of her bodyguard, Thierry Lezhe. The European Parliament’s Financial Directorate accuses Le Pen of the fact that her assistant and bodyguard were receiving salaries, but even were not in Brussels at this time, but worked for the benefit of the National Front in Paris.
Despite the recent legal troubles, Le Pen’s polling remains strong in the first round, where she is expected to win, but lose in the runoff.