Anti-gay former French National Front candidate jailed for racist remarks against minister

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A former candidate of the homophobic French Front National (FN) has been sentenced to nine months in jail for comparing a black Justice Minister to a chimpanzee.

France’s Justice Minister Christiane Taubira last year faced legal action from the FN for saying the group is racist and homophobic.

She made the remarks in response to Anne-Sophie Leclere, an FN candidate who was then standing in a small town in the north-eastern Ardennes region, and who posted images on her Facebook page of a baby chimpanzee, with the caption: “At 18 months”, next to a photo of Ms Taubira, with the caption: “Now”.

In a television documentary in 2013, Ms Leclere said: “On the whole I would rather see [Ms Taubira] in the branches of a tree than see her in the government,” at which point she was expelled from the party by Marine Le Pen, its leader.

Christiane Taubira said it showed the FN’s “lethal and murderous” views could be summed up as follows: “It’s the blacks into the branches of the trees, the Arabs into the sea, the homosexuals into the river Seine, the Jews into the ovens and so on.”

Leclere was given a nine month jail sentence, a €50,000 (£40,000) fine, and was banned from politics for five years.

On Tuesday the FN was also found guilty of inciting racial hatred by the Cayenne court. The party was fined €30,000 (£24,000).

Both the party and Leclrere have appealed, the political party’s leadership claiming that the ruling was “politically biased,” and said the case should not have been heard in Cayenne, an overseas region of France.

“Clearly, in the court in Cayenne, the normal rules do not apply,” read a statement by the FN. “These incredible violations of our legal system must be vigorously denounced.”

The far-right FN party known to be homophobic and opposed to same-sex marriage dominated France’s European Election vote, while its leader called for the pro-same-sex marriage President to dissolve the country’s parliament.