French justice on Tuesday released the boss of the far right Marine Le Pen, prosecuted for disseminating photos of abuses by the Islamic State group in 2015, explaining in particular his judgment by respect for freedom of expression.
The court of Nanterre, near Paris, also 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 National Rally (RN) was prosecuted for disseminating violent messages or seriously undermining human dignity, likely to be seen by a minor. The prosecution requested a 5,000 euros fine.
In the viewfinder of the prosecution, tweets published in December 2015, just a few weeks after the jihadist attacks, claimed by the EI group, in Paris and Saint-Denis of November 13, 2015 (130 dead and hundreds injured).
In a France traumatized by the attacks, Marine Le Pen had relayed three photos of abuses by the jihadist group, showing a crushed Syrian soldier living under the tracks of a tank, a Jordanian pilot burned alive in a cage and the beheaded body of the journalist American James Foley, his head resting on his back.
She added the words: “Daesh, that’s it!”, In response to journalist Jean-Jacques Bourdin whom she accused of having “compared” the EI group (also known by its Arabic acronym Daesh or Daech) and the far right during a broadcast.
These publications immediately sparked an outcry within the left – then in government – as well as the right, and beyond the political world.
On Tuesday, the court considered that the dissemination of these images constituted a “coherent” response from Ms. Le Pen to “a controversial attack”.
In addition, the court ruled that the broadcast did not take on “any proselytizing character since the images were accompanied by comments” written by elected officials who did not thus “trivialize” or “present the violence in a favorable light”.
“It is a great victory for the law because freedom of expression was at stake in this file, this freedom of expression was recognized as total for a first rank political leader”, declared to the press Rodolphe Bosselut, counsel to Ms. Le Pen.