Marine Le Pen has lost her immunity: Here's everything you need to know

The European Parliament has voted to lift leader of French far-right party Marine Le Pen’s immunity from prosecution. Here’s everything you need to know.

What did she do?

In December 2015 Le Pen tweeted out a series of violent images showing executions including the killing of American reporter James Foley by Islamic State extremists.

The tweets were posted in response to a journalist who drew an analogy between her anti-immigration National Front party and IS extremists.

Why were people upset?

The pictures were very graphic and disturbing. Although Le Pen was trying to show the difference between the National Front and IS extremists, her efforts backfired and she was roundly criticised.

Le Pen took down the tweet showing the killing of Foley after his family protested, but left up another image of violence by IS extremists.

Why did she have immunity anyway?

It is tradition for members of the European Parliament to enjoy immunity. However, French prosecutors in the city of Nanterre felt that the circumstances warranted requesting the lifting of this privilege.

What happens next?

Under French law, publishing violent images can carry a penalty of three years in jail and a fine of 75,000 euro (£64,000).

Is this the only trouble Le Pen has found herself in?

By no means. She is also embroiled in a corruption case centred around her aide at the European Parliament, suspected of being paid from EU money while working on her behalf. Le Pen’s chief of staff, Catherine Griset, was handed a preliminary charge of receiving money through a breach of trust.

Crucially, though, the lifting of her immunity does not relate to this – only to the IS tweets.

Le Pen isn’t the only candidate for the French presidency to find themselves in hot water: top contender Francois Fillon’s campaign has also been rocked by corruption allegations, but he has vowed to stay in the race.

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