French prosecutors have called for conservative leader Marine Le Pen to be tried for tweeting pictures of terrorist atrocities committed by ISIS, judicial sources said Friday. If convicted, Le Pen could be sentenced to three years prison and be ineligible to run against President Macron in the upcoming European parliamentary election.
Critics of the move claim the prosecution is politically motivated after Marine Le Pen’s National Rally has continued gaining ground on Macron’s Republic on the Move party in the polls, and is now only two percentage points behind. European parliamentary elections to be held May 23 to 26.
Le Pen tweeted the grisly anti-ISIS images in December 2015, a few weeks after jihadists murdered 130 people in terror attacks in Paris – and after a French liberal journalist drew a comparison between the jihadist group and her party.
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One of the pictures showed the body of James Foley, an American journalist beheaded by the Sunni Islamic extremists. Another showed a man in an orange jumpsuit being run over by a tank and the third showed a Jordanian pilot being burned alive in a cage.
‘Daesh is this!’ Le Pen wrote in a caption, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.
She is facing a possible three year jail term and a fine of 75,000 euros if an investigating magistrate decides a trial should take place for the crime of ‘circulating violent pictures liable to bee seen by children’.
Prosecutors demanded that another member of her National Rally party, Gilbert Collard, also be tried on similar charges.
Le Pen, who lost to Emmanuel Macron in the 2017 presidential elections, was stripped of her parliamentary immunity over the pictures and thereafter charged with circulating violent messages.
Last year, she expressed outrage after the investigative magistrate called for her to undergo psychiatric tests in connection with her tweeting.
Le Pen has denounced the case against her as a witch hunt and violation of her freedom of expression.