Le Pen cleared of hate speech charges for ‘posting ISIS images’

Marine Le Pen and Gilbert Collard were acquitted and the court notably justified its decision by citing freedom of expression of the two elected members of the National Assembly.

The RN MEP Collard was delighted about the court’s decision: “Justice is great when it is independent”, he wrote in a Twitter message accompanied by a photograph of himself with Marine Le Pen.

The 14th correctional chamber recognized “an informative vocation” in the dissemination of these images, which “is part of a process of political protest”. Broadcasting “contributes to public debate” as long as it does not “trivialize” violence.

The president of the RN and the MEP were prosecuted for allegedly disseminating violent messages or seriously undermining human dignity, likely to be seen by a minor. The prosecution requested a 5000 euro fine against Marine Le Pen and Gilbert Collard.

Marine Le Pen had relayed three photographs of abuses by the jihadist group. She had added the words: “Daesh, that’s it!”, She had responded to journalist Jean-Jacques Bourdin who had “compared” the group and and her party in public.

The court considered that the dissemination of these images constituted a “coherent” response from Marine Le Pen to “a controversial attack” from Bourdin. In addition, the court ruled that the broadcast had “no proselytizing character since the images were accompanied by comments “written by elected officials who did not ‘trivialize’ or present violence in a favorable light”. The court therefore released the two defendants, to the great satisfaction of their lawyers, present at the deliberation.

“It is a great victory for the law because freedom of expression was at stake in this case, this freedom of expression was recognized as complete for a first rank political official”, declared Rodolphe Bosselut, adviser to Marine Le Pen.

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