French extreme-right leader Marine Le Pen came out on Thursday against a decision by a French judge ordering her to undergo psychiatric tests for posting photos of abuses by the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group on Twitter in December 2015. “It’s totally hallucinating,” the president of the Rassemblement National (NR – formerly known as the Front National, FN) party said on her Twitter account, where she published the judge’s order. “This regime is really beginning to become frightening.”
The court order, dated 11 September, came from the judge presiding over the investigation in which Le Pen is accused of “distributing violent images”. It requires Le Pen to undergo the psychiatric examination “forthwith”.
“I thought I had a right to everything: but, no!” Le Pen reacted. “For having shown the horrors of Daech (ISIS) in tweets, the court is subjecting me to a psychiatric examination! How far will they go?”
The examination would seek to ascertain whether “she is able to understand statements and respond to questions” and whether “the offence of which she is accused relates to factual or biographical elements of the accused.”
Marine Le Pen had tweeted, on 16 December 2015, photos of abuses committed by ISIS in response to journalist Jean-Jacques Bourdin of the BFMTV-RMC network, whom she accused of drawing a parallel between ISIS and the FN.
Calling this an “unacceptable slip” and “foul words”, Le Pen had posted three photos mentioning Bourdin with the text, “That is ISIS”, on her Twitter account.
The photos showed a Syrian soldier crushed alive under the tracks of a tank, a Jordanian pilot burnt alive in a cage and U.S. journalist James Foley, decapitated with his head placed on his back.
One month after the Paris attacks that claimed 130 lives, the worst ever perpetrated in France, the tweets immediately caused a furore in political and social circles.
The public prosecutor’s office in Nanterre, close to Paris, had launched on the same day an investigation into Le Pen for “distributing violent images” after the photos were reported by the then Minister of Home Affairs.