Court confirms conviction of far right Front National founder, who said Nazi occupation was not 'particularly inhumane'
Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of France's far right Front National, has been convicted of contesting crimes against humanity for saying the Nazi occupation was not "particularly inhumane".
A Paris appeals court upheld the three-month suspended prison sentence and €10,000 (£8,283) fine handed to Le Pen in 2009.
Le Pen had told the far-right magazine Rivarol in 2005: "in France at least the German occupation was not particularly inhumane, even if there were a number of excesses – inevitable in a country of 550,000 sq km."
He added: "If the Germans had carried out mass executions across the country as the received wisdom would have it, then there wouldn't have been any need for concentration camps for political deportees."
Aided by the collaborationist Vichy government, German authorities deported more than 70,000 French Jews to death camps during the occupation from 1940 to 1944. Thousands of French civilians died in reprisals by the German army. France has strict laws against denying the Holocaust and contesting crimes against humanity
Le Pen said he would now appeal to the highest court in France, criticising the judges for handing down the decision in an election period.
His daughter Marine Le Pen, who now heads the Front National, is currently in third place in the presidential race. In a poll published on Wednesday by Harris Interactive, she was on 20%, with Nicolas Sarkozy on 24% and the Socialist favourite François Hollande on 28%.
The election takes place in two rounds in April and May.
The Guardian - 16/02/12