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French far-right figurehead Jean-Marie Le Pen hospitalised: lawyer

© AFP/File | Jean-Marie Le Pen lors d'un discours en l'honneur de Jeanne D'Arc à Paris le 1er mai 2017

PARIS (AFP) - 

France's far-right figurehead Jean-Marie Le Pen has been taken to hospital suffering from "general fatigue", his lawyer said Wednesday.

The increasingly frail 89-year-old was set to face a verdict on Wednesday in a hate-speech case over comments he made about homosexuals.

Explaining his absence in court, his lawyer Frederic Joachim produced a hospital certificate saying he had been admitted "in an emergency, for an undetermined time."

Le Pen co-founded France's National Front (FN) party in 1972 and built it up into a formidable political force.

His daughter Marine took over in 2011 and has since distanced himself from his controversial legacy which included a string of xenophobic and anti-Semitic comments that led to convictions.

She kicked him out of the FN in 2015 and changed the name of the party -- against his wishes -- to National Rally at the beginning of the month.

Jean-Marie was hospitalised for about a week in April because of flu. He also spent several days in hospital in April 2015 with a heart problem.

Le Pen's hate speech case was adjourned in his absence until October 3.

He is being prosecuted on charges of inciting hatred and violence after comments that conflated homosexuality and pedophilia and suggested that gay couples should keep out of the public eye.

© 2018 AFP