Friday, February 8, 2008


Suspended sentence for Nazi apologist (The Australian)
FRENCH far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen was handed a three-month suspended jail sentence for describing the Nazi occupation of France as “not especially inhumane”.

Le Pen, 79, was found guilty of denying a crime against humanity and complicity in condoning war crimes, over the remarks made in an interview with a far-right magazine in 2005. The veteran National Front (FN) chief was also fined $A14,500 for his remarks. Le Pen was not in court to hear the verdict but his lawyer said there was a “100 per cent chance” his client would appeal.

Le Pen told Rivarol magazine that “in France at least the German occupation was not especially inhumane, even if there were a number of excesses - inevitable in a country of 550,000 square kilometres.”

“If the Germans had carried out mass executions across the country as the received wisdom would have it, then there wouldn’t have been any need for concentration camps for political deportees.”

He also partially exonerated the German army over a 1944 massacre of 86 people in the town of Villeneve d’Ascq, saying it was the work of a lieutenant “mad with rage” over the death of comrades in a resistance attack, and that it was the Gestapo who intervened to stop the killings.

This version was disputed in court by the mayor of Villeneuve d’Ascq and by prosecutor Anne de Fontette, who said it was like calling the Gestapo “the blue berets of the 1940s”.

Le Pen said at the time he felt absolutely no guilt and claimed he was a victim of persecution, after his remarks were unanimously condemned by French politicians and campaign groups. ...

Le Pen, who founded the FN in 1972, has been convicted of racism or anti-Semitism on previous occasions. In 1987 he described the Nazi gas chambers as a “detail of history”.

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