Marine Le Pen cleared of inciting hatred after comparing Muslim prayers in the street to Nazi occupation

The Front National leader made the remarks at a public meeting in Lyon 5 years ago

Alexandra Sims
Tuesday 15 December 2015 15:26
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French far-right National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen arrives to deliver a speech following the announcement of results in the second round of French regional elections
French far-right National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen arrives to deliver a speech following the announcement of results in the second round of French regional elections

Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right French Front National party, has been cleared of charges of inciting hatred after making comments comparing Muslim street prayers to a foreign occupation.

Ms Le Pen made the comments five years ago during the party's December campaign trail in Lyon, France.

Four anti-racism associations filed a complaint after Le Pen said in a 2010 political meeting Muslim street prayers could be compared to the Nazi occupation of France in World War Two.

A French court acquitted Ms Le Pen on Tuesday, as requested by the prosecutor, said lawyer, David Dassa-Le Deist.

The case follows a vote to lift Ms Le Pen’s immunity as a member of the European Parliament allowing her to be charged in July last year for her remarks.

In her 2010 speech to National Front supporters she said: “I'm sorry, but for those who really like to talk about World War Two, if we're talking about occupation, we could talk about that [street prayers], because that is clearly an occupation of the territory.

"It is an occupation of sections of the territory, of neighbourhoods in which religious law applies, it is an occupation. There are no tanks, there are no soldiers, but it is an occupation anyhow, and it weighs on people".

If convicted, Le Pen would have faced up to a year in prison.

Ms Len Pen responded to the trial, telling Reuters it was a “scandal” a political leader “be sued for expressing her beliefs”.

Her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, has been convicted several times of the same charge but never imprisoned.


Additional reporting by Associated Press

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