An EU parliamentary committee has voted to lift the immunity (from prosecution) of French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, officials have said. The decision is over the graphic photos of Islamic State victims posted by the politician on Twitter.
Le Pen, the leader of the Eurosceptic and anti-immigration National Front and contender for the French presidency in the upcoming elections, is under investigation in France for posting images of Islamic State atrocities, including the beheading of American journalist James Foley, back in 2015.
The MEPs in the legal affairs committee, after deliberating whether Le Pen’s posts were becoming of a European deputy, "overwhelmingly voted to lift Le Pen's immunity," Italian lawmaker Laura Ferrara told Reuters.
The European Parliament as a whole is to vote on the issue on Thursday, AFP reported.
RT sought comment from Ludovic de Danne, the Secretary General of the ENF (Europe of Nations and Freedom), the political bloc in the European parliament led by Le Pen.
“It's a poor way of the EU globalists and an easy hypocritical excuse to target Marine Le Pen,” de Danne responded in an email. “Like for the other attacks it’s the same maneuvers like against Brexit and Trump. The people are not blind anymore.”
“We are confident she would win any potential trial in this case if it ever happens.”
In December 2015, Le Pen tweeted three graphic photographs of IS killings accompanied by the text “Daesh [Arabic term for IS] is THIS!” in response to journalist Jean-Jacques Bourdin who compared her nationalist rhetoric to that of the Islamic terrorist group.
The family of James Foley, whose lifeless body featured in one of the photographs, said they were “deeply disturbed by the unsolicited use of Jim for Le Pen’s political gain.”
Le Pen had her parliamentary immunity taken away in 2013, when she was charged with inciting racial hatred for remarks she made in 2010 in the city of Lyon, when she compared Muslims praying outside to an “occupation.”
But in December 2015, Le Pen was acquitted after a judge decided that while her remarks were “shocking”, they were protected “as a part of freedom of expression.”
Her father and former National Front leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, has been stripped of his parliamentary immunity four times for making inflammatory remarks, including calling the Holocaust a mere “detail of history.”