French politician Marine Le Pen said a court ordered her to undergo psychiatric evaluation over a series of images she posted on Twitter showing Islamic State executions. She slammed the order as a “mind-blowing.”
The president of France’s National Rally (formerly Front National) has released an order saying it comes from the magistrates in Nanterre near Paris, calling on her to “undergo a psychiatric examination.”
“For denouncing the horrors of Daesh (Islamic State/IS, formerly ISIS) by tweets the “justice system” has referred [me] to a psychiatric assessment. How far will they go?!” she tweeted in response.
The 2017 presidential candidate denounced the order as “mind-blowing,” saying: “This regime is really starting to scare [us].”
French major outlet BMFTV, which also broke the story, said that the procedure was in fact a “common” occurrence. The comment did not go down well with Le Pen though, who branded the claim “a lie.” Such an examination is required of “pedophiles or [those with] sexual deviance,” she argued.
In December of 2015, Le Pen tweeted three pictures of killings carried out by IS terrorists accompanied by the text “Daesh [Arabic term for ISIS] is THIS!” The tweets had been a response to journalist Jean-Jacques Bourdin, who compared Le Pen’s nationalist rhetoric to that of the Islamic terrorist group.
One of the pictures showed the body of James Foley, whom the extremists beheaded in August 2014. Back then his family said they had been “deeply disturbed by the unsolicited use of Jim for Le Pen’s political gain.”
Le Pen later deleted the images. Speaking to French media earlier this year she said that she is being charged for “having condemned the horrors of Daesh.”
If convicted, the politician faces a maximum punishment of a €75,000 fine and up to three years in prison.
A number of politicians have lambasted the judges’ decision towards Le Pen. According to National Assembly member Gilbert Collard, the order simply means “the psychiatrization of political opinion.”
Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini also took to Twitter to express support for the French politician. “A court orders a psychiatric assessment for Marine Le Pen. Words fail me! Solidarity with her and with the French who love freedom!” he wrote.
— Matteo Salvini (@matteosalvinimi) September 20, 2018
This is not the first time Marine Le Pen has locked horns with the authorities. In 2017, roughly two months before the presidential election, she was summoned by judges for alleged misuse of EU funds. The court said that Le Pen’s staff was fictitiously employed at the European Parliament as assistants. She denied the allegations.
This July, French judges blocked €2 million of subsidies to Le Pen’s party. Le Pen condemned the move as “a blow to democracy,” since withholding the funding would likely result in her party becoming defunct.