• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Far right's Le Pen faces prospect of prosecution

AFP/The Local · 20 Jun 2013, 08:06

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.

Story continues below…

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
French fighter jets 'take off on mission against Isis'
A rafale fighter jet takes off from the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. Photo: AFP

French fighter jets have reportedly taken off for an operation in Mosul, Iraq.

It's official: France finally gets its new map
Photo: AFP

So, how well do you know the new map?

Sexism at the wheel: France wants more women drivers
Photo: State Farm/Flickr

Because the men are causing all the accidents.

VIDEOS: France's raunchiest TV commercials of all time
Photo: Gifi

Two sexually-charged adverts have got people hot under the collar in France, a little strange perhaps given the history of the French for making raunchy adverts. Take a look back through time at these famously steamy ads.

Why are foreign students in France 'Europe's unhappiest'?
Students at a university in Normandy. Photo: AFP

... for the fourth year in a row.

Education in France
The troubles with French universities laid bare
Students in Lyon. Photo: AFP

Classrooms overflowing, a serious lack of funding, and a flailing reputation abroad... what exactly is wrong with France's university system? The Local's Oliver Gee takes a closer look.

Studying in France
How to survive Paris on a student budget
Are you a student in Paris? Here's how to save some money. Photo: AFP

With students from all over the world descending on Paris for the start of a new term, we take a look at the best ways to save money while living in the French capital on a shoestring.

Where in France has the cleanest and dirtiest air?
Photo: AFP

No, Paris doesn't have the dirtiest.

Court could give 'depressed' French nation right to smile
Photo: Jens Bergander/Flickr

"Is it really responsible, in a depressed France, that the authorities forbid the French from smiling... (on their ID photos)"

Is Hollande's last budget target really credible?
Photo: AFP

The president says the budget is "serious" but many would disagree.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Education
The troubles with French universities laid bare
Culture
The crazy French writing phrases you can't get your head around
Features
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
'Stop telling immigrants to be French and help it happen'
Society
Take the test: How far have you assimilated into French culture?
Lifestyle
Eleven things you should know before moving to Paris
National
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
National
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Features
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
Travel
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
Culture
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
Features
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
National
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
Education
Grenoble named France's best city to be a student
Society
New Metro map reveals cheapest pints of beer in Paris
Business & Money
How reliant is the French economy on Paris?
Society
Here's why Parisians want to move to Bordeaux
And the 'best place to spend a weekend in Europe' is… Lyon
Analysis & Opinion
'Muslims in France must be considered ordinary citizens'
Armed guards to ride French trains from October
2,728
jobs available