(JTA) — Far-right French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen was summoned to stand trial for denying crimes against humanity.
Le Pen, 87, must appear in a Paris court in the wake of his description of the Nazi gas chambers as “just a detail of World War II,” the French news agency AFP reported Friday, citing a source close to the investigation. The report said the longtime leader of the National Front party was summoned a few weeks ago.
In April, Le Pen told French TV that he does not regret the statement he made in 1987, for which he was convicted of racial hatred and fined.
“Gas chambers were a detail of the war, unless we accept that the war is a detail of the gas chambers,” he told BFM in the spring. “I continue to uphold the view because I think it is the truth and it should not shock anyone. They have exploited this affair against me, implying this is about anti-Semitism. But I defy anyone to quote me on anything anti-Semitic I have said in my political career.”
His daughter Marine Le Pen has sought to gain mainstream acceptance for the National Front, which she now heads, by distancing herself and the anti-immigrant party from her father’s anti-Semitic rhetoric. In May he was suspended from the party, and subsequently disowned his daughter. A French court later quashed his suspension and ordered the party to restore his position as the party’s honorary president.