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Le Pen in court accused of inciting racial hatred

The former leader of the far-right National Front political party, Jean-Marie Le Pen, heads to court Tuesday to face accusations of inciting racial hatred by using an anti-Muslim campaign poster during regional elections last year.


Far-right National Front politician Jean-Marie Le Pen finds himself in court again on Tuesday. In the latest controversy to hit the scandal-prone Le Pen, French NGO Movement Against Racism and for Friendship Between Peoples (MRAP) has accused him of inciting racial hatred by using anti-Muslim campaign posters during regional elections in February 2010.

The poster displayed a burqa-clad woman next to a map of France covered by an Algerian flag and missile-shaped minarets, accompanied by the tagline: “No to Islamism”. The posters drew angry reactions from French anti-racism associations, as well as protests from Algeria.

In early December, the correctional court of Paris had acquitted Le Pen, stating that he was “neither the author of the poster in question, nor responsible for the Web sites on which the poster was displayed”.

The new trial will begin Tuesday afternoon at the correctional court of Paris-area suburb Nanterre.

Le Pen headed the National Front party from 1972 to 2011 before handing the reins over to his daughter, Marine, who won party elections early this year.

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