French court fines Jean-Marie Le Pen for abusive remarks about Romani people - again
A French appeals court has fined the founder of the ultra-right party Front National (FN), Jean-Marie Le Pen, for abusive remarks he made about Romani people in 2013. The Czech News Agency reports that last April's fine of EUR 8 000 has been reduced to EUR 5 000, but does not specify why.
Speaking at a political assembly in Nice in 2013, Le Pen warned residents that during the year to come the number of Romani people in France would increase by at least 50 000 and that their presence in the city would be "irritating and ... smelly". According to a verdict handed down in the case last year, Le Pen committed felony incitement to ethnic discrimination and racial hatred through his remarks.
The controversial politician, who is now 88, has previously been convicted of a different remark involving a play on words, according to which Romani people are "like birds, [who] fly/steal naturally". He has battled with the French justice system over the broadest possible range of controversial declarations for decades now.
The most infamous remark Le Pen has ever made is considered to be his repeated allegation that the Nazi gas chambers are just a "detail" in the history of the Second World War. According to his critics and the courts, those statements cast doubt on whether those crimes against humanity ever happened.
The Front National, which is now led by Le Pen's daughter Marine, excluded him from its ranks in 2015 over his controversial remarks. Marine replaced him at the head of the party in 2011 and is now an MEP who is running for President of France this year.
Marine Le Pen's political ambitions are endangered by her father's radical opinions. For that reason, she attempts to distance herself from them.
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