Court Fines Le Pen $2,000 for Slur About Gas Chambers

A French court has imposed a $2,000 fine on Jean-Marie Le Pen, the leader of the extreme right-wing National Front, for insults he made three years ago about a member of the French government which included a slur on gas chambers.

The court, in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre, imposed the fine for remarks Le Pen made in September 1988 in which he mockingly used the last name of Michel Durafour in conjunction with the word “crematoire,” which means crematorium, or gas chamber. The word “four” means oven.

Le Pen made his remarks about Durafour, a centrist politican who was at the time minister in charge of public service, at a National Front meeting. They were made in response to Durafour’s call for voters to ensure defeat of the National Front, known for its racism, in an upcoming election for Parliament.

The suit against Le Pen was brought by the French government for insulting a member of the government after the National Front leader made his comments. The justice minister announced the suit, which was based on a 19th-century law that is rarely applied.

At a court hearing on the case in 1989, Le Pen denied having abused Durafour, saying his “game of words was part of the political debate.”

The court in Nanterre rejected Le Pen’s explanation and fined him after nearly two years of deliberation.

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