French far-right leader Marine Le Pen on September 20 refused to undergo court-ordered psychiatric tests for tweeting images of atrocities committed by the Islamic State group.
“It’s crazy,” fumed Le Pen, herself a trained lawyer. “I thought I had been through it all: well, no! For having condemned Daesh (IS) horrors in tweets, the ‘justice system’ is putting me through psychiatric tests! Just how far will they go?” she asked, repeating her view that it was part of a government plot to discredit her.
As reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), Under French law there is no legal mechanism for forcing a person to comply with such an order.
The prosecutor’s office in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, where the court is located, said such tests were routine in cases involving the dissemination of violent messages.
Le Pen shared the gruesome images in December 2015, a few weeks after IS jihadists killed 130 people in attacks in Paris, sparking widespread condemnation in France.
The 50-year-old leader of the National Rally (formerly the National Front), who lost to Emmanuel Macron in last year’s presidential vote, was stripped of her parliamentary immunity over the pictures and charged with circulating violent messages that can be viewed by minors.
The court’s order triggered reactions in France and abroad. Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini tweeted his sympathy for Le Pen, along with a photograph of himself and the Frenchwoman greeting each other, their arms outstretched and faces wreathed in smiles.
“A prosecutor has ordered psychiatric tests on Marine Le Pen. There are no words. Solidarity with her and those French people who love liberty,” wrote Salvini, whose League party is in an alliance with Le Pen’s faction.
Rightwing eurosceptic Nicolas Dupont-Aignan wondered whether the French justice system was inspired by the Soviet Union, where political opponents were thrown in psychiatric hospitals. “Next step the gulag?” he asked in a tweet.
If convicted, she faces up to three years in prison and a fine of €75,000, reported AFP.