BRUSSELS, March 2 (Xinhua) -- French far-right leader Marine Le Pen on Thursday was striped of immunity from prosecution over a tweet post in connection with the Islamic State (IS) by the European Parliament in a vote. Le Pen, leader of National Front party and co-chair of the Europe of Nations and Freedom group in the European Parliament, is currently running for the French presidency.
As a member of European Parliament (MEP), she could not be prosecuted.
An investigation into Le Pen was opened by the French judicial authorities following the posting on her twitter account of three violent images that showed the murder of three hostages by Daesh (IS group) on Dec. 16 2015.
One of the three photographs, which were not blurred, showed U.S. hostage James Foley being beheaded. The images were accompanied by the following comment by Marine Le Pen: "This is Daesh!"
In a report by Italian MEP Laura Ferrara to the plenary, the lawmakers argued that Le Pen's tweet post is an offence to disseminate violent images that will likely undermine human dignity.
"Although the images posted by Ms Le Pen can be accessed by anyone via Google and have been widely reposted on the internet since they appeared on her twitter account, it is beyond question that their violent nature is likely to undermine human dignity. Their publication therefore warrants the opening of criminal proceedings," Ferrara said.
The French law stipulates that criminal proceedings may not be brought against information society service providers if violent images are removed within 24 hours from the time of notification by the competent authority of the need to do so.
"In this connection, it should be emphasised that Ms. Le Pen removed only the photograph of the murder of the hostage James Foley, and not the other two images," the lawmaker stated.
"Lastly, given that the speed of the legal proceedings taken against Marine Le Pen is comparable to the pace of other proceedings in matters relating to the press and other media, there is no reason to suspect that this may be a case of 'fumus persecutionis', i.e. a situation in which there are signs or evidence of an intent to persecute an individual," Laura Ferrara said in the report.
Approved by 18 votes in favor to three against, with no abstentions, the Committee on Legal Affairs in the European Parliament on Tuesday recommended to waive the immunity of Marine Le Pen through a plenary vote.
However, the lifting of her immunity would concern only the tweets and not the ongoing probing into the allegation that Le Pen misused public funds by hiring a fake parliamentary aide.
PARIS, March 1 (Xinhua) -- French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday rejected allegations of bias in the country's justice system made by scandal-hit presidential candidate Francois Fillon who has been summoned to appear before a judge later this month.
"As guarantor of the independence of the judicial authorities, I want to speak out against any calling into question of the judges," Hollande said in a statement. Full story
PARIS, March 1 (Xinhua) -- French presidential candidate Francois Fillon confirmed Wednesday that he would be summoned on March 15 by the investigating magistrates over alleged fake jobs.
But the 62-year-old conservative candidate said he would not withdraw from the presidential race. Full story