Marine Le Pen faces prosecution for comparing Muslim immigration to the Nazi occupation of France after the European Parliament’s legal committee recommended that the nationalist leader be stripped of her immunity.
The full parliament is now expected to formally lift her protection from prosecution as an MEP after a vote on the recommendation on July 3, clearing the way for her to face race hate charges in a French court.
Sajjad Karim, a British Tory MEP on the parliament’s legal affairs committee, voted in favour Ms Le Pen losing her parliamentary immunity.
“There is a red line between freedom of speech and inciting racial hatred,” he said. “I, along with many other MEPs, today voted to drop Ms Le Pen’s immunity and I am confident that the majority of the European Parliament will follow our lead in July.”
French prosecutors asked the EU assembly last November to lift the French National Front leader’s immunity as a lawmaker so she could be prosecuted for remarks likening Islamic prayers to the Nazi occupation.
Ms Le Pen faces charges for comments she made in a speech to National Front supporters in December 2010 when she denounced the holding of Muslim prayers in the streets of France in areas where there are no mosques.
“For those who like to talk about World War II, to talk about occupation, we could talk about, for once, the occupation of our territory. There are no armoured vehicles, no soldiers, but it is an occupation all the same and it weighs on people,” she said.
She follows in the footsteps of her father Jean Marie, founder of the French National Front, who was stripped of his legal protection as an MEP to face German Holocaust denials charges in 1998, he had previously been convicted of similar charge in France. – Daily Telegraph