Marine Le Pen, the figurehead of the French right-wing populist party Rassemblement National, has heard a fine of 5000 euros against itself for tweeting images of violent actions by members of the terrorist movement IS.
In 2015, Le Pen tweeted horrific photographs of, among others, American reporter James Foley decapitated by Islamic State. She did that after accusations that her party has similarities with the terror movement. The politician removed the tweets after that, but a criminal investigation was conducted.
In court, Le Pen appealed to freedom of expression. “I am clearly the victim of a political process,” she said to journalists. She pointed out that media that showed the photos were never prosecuted. By the way, Le Pen did say that she finds the images “terribly shocking”. She refused to undergo a psychological examination.
In France, the dissemination of violent images that violate human dignity is punishable. If there is a risk that minors may see such photographs, those responsible can be punished with EUR 75,000 and a three-year imprisonment. At the time, the Minister of the Interior called the tweets “a disgrace, horrible and a real insult to all victims of terrorism.”
The trial comes fifteen months before the presidential election in France, for which Marine Le Pen is a candidate. In the poll, she is doing well as a challenger of incumbent President Emmanuel Macron.