French politician fined for anti-Roma remark

Dec. 21, 2013 at 5:27 PM

PARIS, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- The founder of a far-right French political party was fined for comments he made likening Roma to thieves at a political rally in September, officials said.

Jean-Marie Le Pen, 85, has been repeatedly criticized for making racist and anti-Semitic comments in public. He has also publicly denied the Holocaust took place. He founded the conservative, anti-immigrant Front National party, which his daughter, Marine, now runs. Marine Le Pen has said she's made it a priority to soften her group's rhetoric and has expelled members who have made racist statements, Radio France Internationale reported.

The elder Le Pen was convicted Thursday of publicly insulting a group of people based on their ethnicity. He was fined 5,000 euros ($6,800) for the offense.

Political opponents have called on the younger Le Pen to expel her father from the party he created.

Jewish students' union leader Jonathan Hayoun said the elder Le Pen deserves to get the boot, "but I am sure [he] will not."

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