Accusations of torture and paedophilia as Green clashes with Le Pen's daughter

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The Independent Online

A public exchange of insults between a former student revolutionary, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, and Marine Le Pen, daughter of the French far right leader, has enlivened France's somnolent European election campaign.

A public exchange of insults between a former student revolutionary, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, and Marine Le Pen, daughter of the French far right leader, has enlivened France's somnolent European election campaign.

On a television current affairs programme on Monday night, M. Cohn-Bendit - leader of the 1968 student revolt in France, now a Green Euro-MP - implied that the National Front leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, had tortured captives during the French colonial war in Algeria. Faced with similar accusations in the past, M. Le Pen has always denied outright torture. His daughter, Marine, retaliated by recalling accusations - always denied and never proven - of paedophile behaviour by M. Cohn-Bendit as a nursery teacher in Germany in the 1970s.

On the France 3 public television channel, M. Cohn-Bendit compared the allegations of brutal treatment of Iraqi prisoners by US troops with incidents in the "colonial past".

Mme. Le Pen, said: "Jean-Marie Le Pen at least won his case when he was accused of being a torturer. When you were accused of being a paedophile, you never won your case." M. Cohn-Bendit retorted: "Because no one brought a case and there was no reason to do so." He was accused four years ago of allowing sexual games to take place with children when he was a nursery school teacher in Frankfurt in the 1970s.

He denied this but said that there was some mildly flirtatious behaviour which formed part of the sexually liberated atmosphere of the times.

Mme. Le Pen told him: "You should have sued but you couldn't because it was the truth. Jean-Marie Le Pen would never allow children to fiddle with the fly of his trousers."

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