European Parliament lifts Marine Le Pen's immunity

The European Parliament has lifted French far-right leader Marine Le Pen's immunity from prosecution over her tweeting of images of so-called Islamic State atrocities.

But Le Pen, 48, has sparked outrage for tweeting graphic pictures of ISIS victims in 2015, including a photo of the beheading of United States journalist James Foley. The subject is now expected to go before the European Union parliament on 2 March.

She has denounced the legal proceedings against her as political interference in the campaign, where she is the lead candidate, and called for a moratorium on judicial investigations until the election period has passed.

He lodged a request to remove her immunity, and on Tuesday, members sitting on the European Parliament's legal affairs committee voted by majority to waive it.

The vote by the full chamber comes a decision taken by a parliamentary committee earlier this week.

The allegations date back to December 2015, when she tweeted the pictures in response to a journalist who drew an analogy between her anti-immigration FN party and IS extremists.

The offence being considered is "publishing violent images".

Eighteen MEPs voted in favour while the remaining three opposed lifting her immunity.

Responding to the news, vice president of Front National Florian Philippot said: "Showing and naming the horror of Islamism allow us to fight against it".

The politician has since slammed the EU's attempt to muzzle her. The photographs were accompanied by a comment from Le Pen saying "This is Daesh!"

Polls say Le Pen should win the first of the two election rounds but lose in the runoff.

Le Pen is now leading the polls for the first round of the French presidential elections in April, although polls also show her ultimately losing the second round. She was prosecuted in 2015 for "incitement to discrimination over people's religious beliefs", for comparing Muslims praying in public to the Nazi occupation of France during World War II.

  • Leroy Wright