The European Parliament voted by a broad majority Thursday to lift the immunity from prosecution for French far-right leader Marine Le Pen for tweeting gruesome images of Islamic State violence in 2015. The lifting of Le Pen’s parliamentary immunity– which is intended to protect EU lawmakers against intimidation attempts – now permits a Paris court to prosecute Le Pen for posting three images of IS brutality on Twitter in 2015.
French prosecutors in the city of Nanterre had asked lawmakers to lift the immunity that Le Pen enjoys as a member of the European Parliament. Under French law, publishing violent images can be punished by up to three years in jail and a fine of 75,000 euros.
A French television journalist: Jean-Jacques Bourdin, had drawn parallels between Le Pen’s National Front (FN) party and the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS). In response, Le Pen, who is a vocal critic of Islam and its influence on French society, tweeted three grisly ISIS propaganda photos, and in each one of them, called out Bourdin’s comparison to her party as ridiculous and insulting.
— Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) December 16, 2015
One of the three photos showed James Foley, a US journalist who was decapitated by the militants. Another showed a prisoner being burned alive and the third depicted a man being crushed under the tread of a tank. “This is #Daesh!” Le Pen wrote above each photo, using the derogatory name for the terrorist organization.
I’m a lawmaker. I’m in my role when I condemn Daesh, this is my role, and if I don’t fulfill my role, I’m worth nothing as a lawmaker. Nobody can prevent a republic’s representative from condemning Daesh’s acts of violence. – Marine Le Pen
It is the second time now, that Le Pen has had her immunity stripped away by the EU. Previously, she had made derogatory remarks about Muslims blocking traffic by praying in the streets in large crowds. Ultimately the issue was dropped.
Le Pen’s campaign manager, David Rachline, denounced the removal of Le Pen’s immunity.
“The EU parliament decision marks the difference between those who denounce and fight Islamist fundamentalism and those who want to hide the atrocities”, Rachline said.
Parliamentary immunity is supposed to protect someone like Marine Le Pen from legal prosecution for her votes & opinions expressed while a member of parliament. For more information on immunity in the EU: THE IMMUNITY OF MEMBERS OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
Le Pen recently also made a splash in the headlines around the world due to her refusal to don a headscarf for a meeting with a high-ranking Muslim mufti:
The headscarf incident occurred ahead of a scheduled meeting with Lebanon’s grand mufti, Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian.
Shortly after Le Pen arrived at his office, one of his aides handed her a white headscarf to put on. Following a discussion with his aides that lasted a few minutes, she refused and returned to her car. Le Pen said she had informed her host the night before that she would not wear the scarf but they didn’t cancel the meeting. Instead, she said, “They tried to impose it upon me.” (i.e. ambush her at the door with the headscarf)
I consider the headscarf a symbol of a woman’s submission. I will not put on the veil. – Marine Le Pen