Le Pen fine over Nazi 'blunder'

By Michel Zlotowski, February 23, 2012
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Last week the Paris Court of Appeal handed an 83-year-old Jean-Marie Le Pen a three-month suspended sentence and a 10,000 euro (£8,300) fine for minimising Nazi crimes during the occupation of France.

In 2005, Le Pen, then president of the extreme-right wing Front National, said: "The German occupation had not been especially inhuman, even if some blunders occurred, unavoidable in a 550,000 sq km country." War veteran associations sued the politician.

After a protracted legal battle, a first judgment convicting Le Pen was nullified by the Cour de cassation, the French supreme court. The case was then brought to the Court of Appeal.

Richard Prasquier, President of CRIF, the umbrella body representing the French Jewish community, said: "If I got it right, it means that over 70,000 Jews being deported from France to the extermination camps is regarded by Le Pen as an unavoidable blunder.

"I didn't hear Marine Le Pen distance herself from this statement. I must conclude that for the National Front, the deportation of the Jews was an unavoidable blunder."

Last updated: 1:58pm, February 23 2012