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Marine Le Pen furious after being ordered to undergo psychiatric tests

Marine Le Pen, the leader of the French far right has been left shocked and furious after a court ordered her to be examined by a psychiatrist to determine if she "is capable of understanding remarks and answering questions".

Marine Le Pen furious after being ordered to undergo psychiatric tests
Photo: AFP

Le Pen, who is head of the former National Front party – now National Rally (Rassemblement National) revealed on Twitter her shock and anger at being ordered to undertake a psychiatric assessment.

The unusual summoning is in relation to Le Pen having tweeted out gruesome propaganda images from terror group Isis that showed the bodies of people having been executed by the so-called Islamic State.

In March Le Pen was charged with circulating “violent messages that incite terrorism or pornography or seriously harm human dignity” and that can be viewed by a minor.

And as part of their investigation it appears magistrates in Nanterre near Paris have ordered Le Pen to visit a psychiatrist for an expert assessment. 

“I thought I had been through it all: well, no! For denouncing the horrors of Daesh (Isis) by tweets the “justice system” has referred me for a psychiatric assessment. How far will they go?!” she said on Thursday.

The order came from the district court in Nanterre and was dated September 11th.

Le Pen photographed and tweeted out the order with the words: “It's really incredible. This regime is really starting to worry me,” suggesting that the case was part of a government plot to discredit her.

The order calls for the tests to be carried out “as soon as possible” to establish whether she “is capable of understanding remarks and answering questions”.

Experts have told the French media that expert psychiatric tests are run of the mill for people charged with these kind of offences and have not specifically been ordered for Le Pen.

Jacky Coulon national secretary of the magistrates union told France Info radio the procedure was “automatic” for charges related to publishing certain kinds of images.

“The argument that this is harassment by the judiciary does not hold water. She is a political personality but this is not a political decision.”

But it doesn't look like Le Pen will be making an appointment with any psychiatrists.

“Of course I will not go to this psychiatric assessment and I will wait to see how the magistrate intends to force me,” she told BFM TV.

Marine Le Pen posted the Isis pictures just a few weeks after the Paris terror attacks in November 2015 in which 130 people were killed.

The images included a photo of the decapitated body of US journalist James Foley.

“Daesh is this!” Le Pen wrote in a caption, using an Arabic acronym for IS, in response to a TV journalist drawing a comparison between the extremists and the French far-right.

Le Pen later deleted the picture of Foley after a request from his family, saying she had been unaware of his identity.

“I am being charged for having condemned the horrors of Daesh,” Le Pen told AFP.

“In other countries this would have earned me a medal.”

The crime is punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros ($91,000).

 

 

 

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POLITICS

Burkina junta chief denies diplomatic split from France

Burkina Faso's junta leader said on Friday his country had not severed diplomatic ties with France, which he has asked to withdraw its forces, and denied Russian Wagner mercenaries were in the country.

Burkina junta chief denies diplomatic split from France

Former colonial power France had special forces based in the capital Ouagadougou, but its presence had come under intense scrutiny as anti-French sentiment in the region grows, with Paris withdrawing its ambassador to Burkina over the junta’s demands.

“The end of diplomatic agreements, no!” Captain Ibrahim Traore said in a television interview with Burkinabe journalists. “There is no break in diplomatic relations or hatred against a particular state.”

Traore went on to deny that there were mercenaries from the Wagner Group deployed in Burkina Faso, even as the junta has nurtured ties with Moscow.

Wagner, an infamous Russian mercenary group founded in 2014, has been involved in conflicts in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Ukraine.

“We’ve heard everywhere that Wagner is in Ouagadougou,” he said, adding that it was a rumour “created so that everybody would distance themselves from us”.

“We have our Wagner, it is the VDP that we recruit,” he said, referring to the Volunteers for the Defence of the Homeland civilian auxiliaries. “They are our Wagner.”

He said that “all the people want is their sovereignty, to live with dignity. It doesn’t mean leaving one country for another.”

Paris confirmed last month that its special forces troops, deployed to help fight a years-long jihadist insurgency, would leave within a month.

Bloody conflict

A landlocked country in the heart of West Africa’s Sahel, Burkina Faso is one of the world’s most volatile and impoverished countries.

It has been struggling with a jihadist insurgency that swept in from neighbouring Mali in 2015. Thousands of civilians, troops and police have been killed, more than two million people have fled their homes, and around 40 percent of the country lies outside the government’s control.

Anger within the military at the mounting toll sparked two coups in 2022, the most recent of which was in September, when 34-year-old Traore seized power.

He is standing by a pledge made by the preceding junta to stage elections for a civilian government by 2024.

After the ruling junta in Mali forced French troops out last year, the army officers running neighbouring Burkina Faso followed suit, asking Paris to empty its garrison.

Under President Emmanuel Macron, France was already drawing down its troops across the Sahel region, which just a few years ago numbered more than 5,000, backed up with fighter jets, helicopters and infantry fighting vehicles.

About 3,000 remain, but the forced departures from Mali and Burkina Faso — as well as the Central African Republic to the south last year — underline how anti-French winds are gathering force.

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