• France edition
 
Far right's Le Pen faces prospect of prosecution
National Front leader Marine le Pen. Photo: AFP

Far right's Le Pen faces prospect of prosecution

Published: 20 Jun 2013 08:06 GMT+02:00

The European Parliament's judicial committee on Wednesday gave its green light to the possible lifting of the immunity of far-right French MEP Marine Le Pen ahead of a vote in July.

In a closed-door hearing the committee agreed to a report proposing the lifting by 11 votes in favour, one against and four abstentions, opening the way to a vote in plenary session in the French city of Strasbourg on July 2.

French authorities asked the parliament in November to lift Le Pen's immunity as a lawmaker so she can be prosecuted for remarks likening Islamic prayers to the Nazi occupation.

The remarks were made in a speech to National Front (FN) supporters in December 2010.

In the speech she denounced the holding of Muslim prayers in the streets of France - where a dearth of mosques has forced many to pray outside - saying:

"For those who like to talk about World War II, to talk about occupation, we could talk about, for once, the occupation of our territory."

"There are no armoured vehicles, no soldiers, but it is an occupation all the same and it weighs on people."

Prosecutors in Lyon, where the speech took place, opened an investigation into the remarks for "inciting racial hatred".

As with many national parliaments, members of the European Parliament enjoy immunity from criminal and civil liability for opinions expressed as part of their duties, unless the chamber votes to lift the immunity.

FN vice president Florian Philippot told AFP earlier this month that he would wait for the full parliament's vote, adding that it would be unheard of if Le Pen lost her immunity "for having spoken the truth about the (Muslim) prayers in the streets which still take place.... The French do not like when people hide the truth from them."

Le Pen took over the FN from her father, party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, who has several convictions for racism and anti-Semitism.

Marine Le Pen, who was first elected to the European Parliament in 2004, won 18 percent of the vote in the first round of France's presidential election in April 2012, the party's highest-ever score.

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Holiday camp staff fired for mock jihadist killing
The photos were allegedly taken at a holiday camp on the island of Groix. Photo: Jeanne Menj

Holiday camp staff fired for mock jihadist killing

Four entertainers working at a holiday camp for children in north-western France, have been suspended from their posts and reported to police after they photographed themselves re-enacting a jihadist execution. READ  

French and Swiss set for Davis Cup final clash
France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Switzerland's Roger Federer embrace before the action begins on Friday. Photo: AFP/Philippe Huguen

French and Swiss set for Davis Cup final clash

France take on Switzerland and the mighty Roger Federer in the Davis Cup final on Friday hoping that home support will help propel them to a famous victory. READ  

What to do with France's returning jihadists?
What should France do with returning jihadists, including these three, who called Muslims to attack France?

What to do with France's returning jihadists?

From banishing them to a notorious island in the Atlantic Ocean to re-integrating them into society, French politicians are battling to come up with the best solution for the hundreds of jihadists returning to France from the Middle East. READ  

Football
Six charged in French match-fixing probe
François Gery, lawyer of the president of French L1 football club Caen Jean-Francois Fortin, answers journalists' questions at a Paris Courthouse on November 20th. Photo: Matthieu Alexandre/AFP

Six charged in French match-fixing probe

Six people, including the presidents of Ligue 1 side Caen and Ligue 2 Nimes, were charged on Thursday in connection with a match-fixing inquiry that has rocked French football. READ  

Eurostar: Passengers blocked for eight hours
Journeys from hell: Eight hours stuck on a Eurostar...File photo: Eurostar

Eurostar: Passengers blocked for eight hours

Hundreds of Eurostar passengers endured a nightmare journey across the Channel on Thursday night after a power cut left them stranded on board their trains for almost eight hours. READ  

IN IMAGES: Winter is coming to French Alps
Snow has been falling in the French Alps. Here's some of the best pics.

IN IMAGES: Winter is coming to French Alps

In recent weeks snow has been steadily falling over the French Alps. For those who can't wait to get on the slopes, here's a gallery of images to show that winter is well and truly on its way to the mountains. READ  

French remain fearful of taking public transport
Could music make you feel safer on public transport in France? Photo: AFP

French remain fearful of taking public transport

Tourists heading to Paris are often warned about the perils of the capital’s Metro and train systems. And they not the only ones to be fearful because half of French passengers also say they feel unsafe when using public transport. READ  

Paris: 'Human zoo' art show provokes anger
A picture taken on July 11, 2013, during the 67th International Theatre festival of Avignon, shows an actress performing in a play entitled "Exhibit B" by South African Brett Bailey. Photo: Franck Pe

Paris: 'Human zoo' art show provokes anger

Protesters and rights groups in Paris are calling for the banning of an art show featuring black actors in cages that mimic the "human zoos" of the 19th century. It has already been scrapped in London due to an outcry. READ  

Converts from all corners of France lured into jihad
Maxime Hauchard, one of two French nationals who appeared in an Isis beheading video.

Converts from all corners of France lured into jihad

The French public are becoming increasingly unnerved by the fact youngsters from everyday backgrounds, with names like Maxime, Helene, David and Mikael, are joining the jihad and turning up in brutal Islamic State execution videos. READ  

Paris has five of Europe's priciest shopping streets
Paris is home to five of Europe's most expensive shopping streets. Photo: Tilemahos/Flickr

Paris has five of Europe's priciest shopping streets

With high-end stores and expensive restaurants wherever you look, the Champs-Elysées has been named the priciest shopping street in Europe. Paris had another four in the top 10. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Will background music make the RER in Paris feel safer?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Winter is coming to the French Alps
National
Trierweiler to break her silence... in the UK
Gallery
Don't confuse France with Paris: Here's ten reasons why
National
From the homeless to migrants: A portrait of modern France in ten stats
Culture
Are you brainy enough to be Miss France? Take the quiz
Sponsored Article
Shop Christmas gifts at Debenhams international store
Gallery
France's most notorious celebrities. How many do you know?
Society
City of Love? Seven Paris myths debunked
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles from British Airways
Education
Why is France worst in the EU at English?
National
C'est pas possible! Paris is 'world's cheapest city for young people'
National
Looking to save space? France allows toilets in kitchens for first time
National
Find out how women in France are getting stung for a hidden tax
Sponsored Article
Exclusive Offer: Get 50% off your first year using Home Exchange
Culture
Which one is your favourite? The top 10 heartiest French winter dishes
Face Of The Week
Nabilla - 'France's Kim Kardashian' held for attempted murder
National
So who's scaring everyone by flying drones over France’s nuclear plants?
Education
Whoever thinks French was a dying language should read this
Politics
OPINION: 'One day France will be grateful to François Hollande'
Gallery
IN IMAGES: A history of France's most controversial architecture
National
How to make an 8-square-metre Paris apartment perfectly liveable
Gallery
VIDEO: France's raunchiest TV ads, including that infamous Perrier one
National
Five reasons why you should work a ski season in France and five not to
National
10 art exhibitions not to miss this autumn in Paris
Culture
What's on in France: 11 things to do this November
National
How French have you become? Take our quiz to find out
National
10 things to never say to a French person
National
Top 10: When French translations go wrong
National
Parisian bars that serve drinkers free meals
National
France falls to Germans in nude swim tourney
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Nowhere combines sex and art quite like France
National
Why you should never turn down an invitation to a French wedding
Sport
Discover the route of the 2015 Tour de France. There are a few surprises
Gallery
Ten changes that would make learning French so much easier
Culture
IN PICTURES: 'Glass ship' Vuitton ready to set sail in Paris
International
How a giant 'sex toy' earned an American artist a slap in Paris
National
'Unlike in the US the French don't put the blame on the poor'
Gallery
Cover up and don't be too Latin: French travel warnings for the US
Society
Macholand: The online uprising against sexism in France
Gallery
In pictures: The daily life of the 2,000 migrants in Calais
Culture
Erotic promo video earns the Musée d'Orsay our "Only in France" award
National
Seven reasons why everyone should work in a bar in France
National
The cost of expat home comforts: How France compares to Europe
International
Why don't Calais migrants stay in France? The Local went to find out
National
What are the pros and cons of working as an au pair in France?
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se