Jean-Marie Le Pen, the 93-year-old founder of France’s center-right party, is due to stand trial again on Wednesday on charges of inciting racial hatred, this time with comments targeting a Jewish pop singer.
He already has a sentence for hate speech that eventually became too much for his daughter, Marine Le Pen, who expelled him from the National Front leadership in 2015 in a bid to gain national respect.
However, Le Pen Sr. has continued to express outrage at his statements about Jews, Muslims, blacks and immigrants.
The latest lawsuit began with a 2014 video on the party’s website in which Le Pen spoke out against artists who condemned his extremist stance, including Madonna and French tennis star singer Yankee Noah. Were
When asked about French singer and actor Patrick Bruel, Le Pen gave birth to a Holocaust, referring to his Jewish origins – “I’m not surprised. Listen, next time we sell a full oven!”
The satire sparked outrage, including from his party leaders, criticized by Marine Le Pen for what he called a “political mistake.”
Jane Marie claimed that the comments did not contain anti-Semitic views “except for my political enemies or insults”.
According to colleagues, he does not intend to appear in person at the trial in Paris, where he is accused of inciting anti-Semitic hatred.
His lawyer, Frederick Joachim, said the case was based on a single sentence that had been taken out of context.
– Loom Challenges –
The trial was delayed for several years, with Le Pen claiming immunity from prosecution as MEP, a seat he won in 1984 and lasted until 2019.
But fellow lawmakers in 2016 stripped him of his legal reservations over the case.
Le Pen, his daughter and other party members – now dubbed the National Rally – also face charges of financial mismanagement over subsidies paid to EU parliamentary aides.
Investigators say he used 6.8 million euros (8 8 million) in public funds for party work in France.
Despite the difficulties, Jean-Marie Le Pen is a regular presence in the media and a haven for many right-wingers who dismiss many accusations of her hate speech – at least repeatedly insisting that the Nazi gas chamber only There was a “description” of history.
His astonishing victory in the 2002 presidential election – reaching the stage of fleeing before being defeated by Jack Chirac – sent left-wing socialists into the political wilderness and proved to his supporters that a right-wing move was possible in France. ۔
But a new sentence by Marine Le Pen could complicate Emmanuel Macron’s bid for the presidency again next year, especially after the national rally failed to take control of a French territory in last June’s election.