Le Pen gets suspended jail sentence

French politician found guilty of playing down Nazi war crimes which "weren't especially inhumane."

Le Pen 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Le Pen 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Far-right French nationalist politician Jean-Marie Le Pen has been found guilty for playing down Nazi war crimes and was sentenced on Friday. The leader and founder of the Front National party was given a three-month suspended jail sentence for saying in 2005 that the German occupation of France during World War II as "not especially inhumane." Le Pen, 79, scored a surprise second-place finish in the 2002 French presidential election, after beating the socialist candidate in the first round. He lost in the second round to Jacques Chirac. He ran again in 2007, but finished fourth. He has a history of involvement in racist incidents and facing accusations of Holocaust denial. In 1997, Le Pen accused Chirac of being on the pay roll of Jewish organizations, particularly B'nai Brith. In 2006, he said that France's national soccer team contained too many non-white players, and was not an accurate reflection of French society. He went on to scold players for not singing the French national anthem, saying they "were not French." In the 2007 election campaign, Le Pen referred to Nicolas Sarkozy as "foreign" and as "the foreigner" due to Sarkozy's Hungarian heritage. Meanwhile, the French Interior Ministry has suspended three policemen accused of making Nazi-style salutes. The policemen are alleged to have made the salutes, and also shouted racist insults, in a bar in the northern town of Amiens last week. The three were in plain clothes and accompanied by two others who were allegedly shouting "Sieg Heil." The bar owner reported the incident to local police. French Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie called the incident "intolerable behavior" that "totally contradicts police ethics."