Trial begins for Le Pen


France’s far-right leader went on trial for calling the Nazi occupation of his country “not especially inhumane.”

Jean-Marie Le Pen, 79, whose trial began Friday, made the remarks in an interview with the far-right magazine Rivarol in 2005.

The prosecutor is calling for Le Pen, the head of the National Front party, to pay a $14,500 fine and to receive a five-month suspended sentence.

Le Pen was convicted of racism and anti-Semitism in the past. In 1987 he reportedly described the Nazi gas chambers as a “detail of history.”

The Nazis deported more than 70,000 French Jews to death camps and murdered thousands of French civilians during World War II. France only recently has come to terms with the fact that the collaborationist French Vichy government also was responsible for these atrocities.

Rivarol’s editor, Marie-Luce Wacquez, also is being prosecuted.

“If you exclude the deportations, the occupation was pretty moderate compared to what happened in the Netherlands and Belgium,” she said.

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