French far-right chief stripped of immunity

PARIS (AP) — French far-right leader Marine Le Pen was stripped of her European Parliament immunity Tuesday and may now face charges of racism over comments she made comparing Muslim street prayers to an occupation of French territory.

The European Parliament, meeting in Strasbourg, voted by a show of hands to withdraw Le Pen’s immunity at the request of a French prosecutor. The parliament’s judicial affairs committee recommended the move last month so that Le Pen could defend herself against the charges, filed by an anti-racism association.

Le Pen has reiterated the remarks first made in 2010 and on Tuesday said she stands behind them and looks forward to defending her comments in front of a judge.

“I’m going to defend myself before the court and I’m absolutely convinced that the court will rule in my favor and protect my right to say to the French the truth about the situation, notably prayers in the streets but not only that,” Le Pen said in an interview on French television channel BFM.

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