Disturbing ISIS Tweets Cost Le Pen Immunity
After EU Parliament vote, French prosecutors can now dive into investigation of postings
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2017 12:47 PM CST
In this Sunday file photo, French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen speaks during a conference in Nantes, France.   (AP Photo/David Vincent, file)

(Newser) – French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen lost EU parliamentary immunity Thursday by "a large show of hands," Reuters reports, giving prosecutors more leeway to investigate tweets she posted in December 2015. The offending tweets included graphic imagery of executions carried out by the Islamic State, the Guardian reports, including the beheading of journalist James Foley, with the caption "Daesh is THIS!" ("Daesh" being the Arabic term for ISIS). CNN notes it's illegal in France to disseminate violent pictures or to incite terrorism; the penalty for flouting that law could be up to three years in prison and a $90,000 fine.

Members of the European Parliament, or MEPs, like Le Pen enjoy the perk of immunity so they can speak freely, but if a national authority asks for it to be lifted, it can be. With that protection out of the picture, cops can now question the National Front leader. The prosecutor can then decide whether to have a magistrate investigate further, send the case to trial, or drop it altogether. Le Pen has hit back at the accusations, saying those who wanted to nix her immunity are "part of the system" bent on ruining the campaign of "the French people's candidate," per the BBC. It's not the first immunity-lifting incident for Le Pen: She also lost her parliamentary protections a few years back when she made statements about Muslim public prayer. (Le Pen recently refused to don a Muslim headscarf.)

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