French court orders Marine Le Pen to undergo psychiatric evaluation

Leader of France’s Rassemblement National far-right political party Marine Le Pen. YANN COATSALIOU  AFP  Getty Images

If convicted, Le Pen faces up to three years in prison and a fine of €75,000.

The investigation is one of a series that have distracted Le Pen's National Rally, formerly known as the National Front, as it seeks to rebuild after her loss to President Emmanuel Macron in the second round of an election a year ago.

The tribunal declined to confirm it had ordered the evaluation but said the assessments were a normal part of such probes.

"A court orders a psychiatric assessment for Marine Le Pen. Just how far will they go?" she said in another tweet, using the Arabic acronym for Isil.

She posted the images following the Paris terror attacks of November 2015, in which 130 people were killed, after a journalist compared her party to ISIS militants. For denouncing the horrors of Daesh (Isis) by tweets the "justice system" has referred me for a psychiatric assessment.

Le Pen shared the IS images in response to a French journalist who drew a comparison between the jihadist group and her party.

Le Pen took to Twitter on Thursday, to say: 'I thought I had been through it all: well, no! Le Pen wrote on Twitter.

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She then said it was all part government plot to discredit her, even though there is a strict separation of powers between the executive and judiciary in France.

One of the pictures showed the body of James Foley, whom the extremists beheaded in August 2014. "This regime is really starting to worry me". "She is a political personality but this is not a political decision", Jacky Coulon, national secretary of the magistrates union, reportedly told France Info radio.

"Of course I won't go and submit myself to this psychiatric evaluation", she declared, daring the investigating magistrate to "force" her.

According to court documents posted on Twitter by the leader of the National Front party, the psychological tests are to be carried out "as soon as possible" to establish whether she "is capable of understanding remarks and answering questions".

He posted that he had "no words" and offered "solidarity" to Ms Len Pen and "the French who love freedom". Le Pen, though, may see an opportunity to score political points with her base.

Le Pen is facing charges relating to a series of tweets in which she posted ISIS propaganda pictures of victims of torture and executions.

Experts have told the French media that expert psychiatric tests are run of the mill for people charged with these kind of offences and have not specifically been ordered for Le Pen.

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