Jean-Marie Le Pen loses immunity over racial hatred charges

Jean-Marie Le Pen has lost his immunity for the fourth time since he was first elected in 1984. [European Parliament]

The European Parliament on Tuesday (25 October) voted to lift Jean-Marie Le Pen’s parliamentary immunity. The move follows a request from French prosecutors, who are building a case against Le Pen for inciting racial hatred.

MEPs found that the alleged offences of the National Front’s founder and former president were not linked to his parliamentary activities, nor was the case against him made with the aim of preventing him from sitting in the institution.

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The European Parliament is demanding the repayment of €320,000 from MEP Jean-Marie Le Pen over a salary it believes was wrongly paid out to a parliamentary assistant, sources said on Wednesday (22 June).

In a video broadcast in June 2014 on the extreme right party’s website, Jean-Marie Le Pen attacked musicians who have criticised his party, notably Patrick Bruel, Madonna and Yannick Noah, saying, “We’ll cook them next time.”This comment, and its association with Patrick Bruel, who is Jewish, unleashed a wave of indignation from across France’s political class and drove Marine Le Pen, the current leader of the National Front, to distance herself from her father.

Today’s vote marks the fourth time the 88-year-old’s parliamentary immunity has been lifted since he was first elected to the European Parliament in 1984. The first time was in December 1989, on the request of France, after he nicknamed Jewish politician Michel Durafour “Mr. Durafour-crematoire.” The second was in March 1990, following comments about international Jewish organisations.

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Le Pen once again lost his immunity in October 1998, this time on Germany’s request, for his assertion at a Munich conference that the gas chambers were “a detail of the history of the Second World War”.

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