France's Marine Le Pen loses EU parliamentary immunity in Twitter-posting case

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has been stripped of her EU parliamentary immunity.
French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has been stripped of her EU parliamentary immunity.PHOTO: EPA

BRUSSELS (BLOOMBERG) - French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen was stripped of her European Parliament immunity from prosecution because of a judicial investigation in France into the posting on her Twitter account of images of murders by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group.

The European Union assembly voted by a show of hands on Thursday in Brussels to make the move against Len Pen, who leads the far-right National Front and is ahead in polls on the first round of France's presidential election in April.

The EU Parliament's legal-affairs committee recommended on Feb 28 that she lose her immunity.

The 28-nation EU assembly acted on a request made in October by French Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas in connection with an investigation being conducted by the Nanterre Regional Court.

The case involves the posting in December 2015 on Le Pen's Twitter account of images showing three hostages being murdered by ISIS, which is also known as Daesh.

The photographs were accompanied by a comment from Le Pen saying "This is Daesh!" The Twitter posting followed a French broadcast interview in which a comparison was drawn between the rise of the National Front and the activities of Daesh, according to the EU Parliament's legal-affairs committee.

"Although the images posted by Ms Le Pen can be accessed by anyone via Google and have been widely reposted on the Internet since since they appeared on her Twitter account, it is beyond question that their violent nature is likely to undermine human dignity," the committee said in a report.

In a separate case, Le Pen has refused to cooperate with a police investigation into the use of European parliamentary allowances to pay for party work in France.