A former French local election candidate for the far-right National Front (FN) has been sentenced to nine months in prison for comparing the country’s black justice minister to a monkey.
Anne-Sophie Leclere provoked a storm last year when she compared Christiane Taubira to a monkey on French television and admitted to posting a photo-montage on Facebook that showed the justice minister, who is from French Guiana, alongside a baby chimpanzee.
The caption underneath the baby monkey said “At 18 months,” while the one under Taubira’s photograph read “Now”.
Leclere had been an FN candidate in Rethel in the eastern Ardennes region for 2014 local elections, but the anti-immigration eurosceptic party soon dropped her and went on to do well in the March polls.
On Tuesday, a court in Cayenne — the capital of French Guiana — sentenced her to nine months in jail, five years of ineligibility to run in elections, and to a 50,000-euro ($68,000) fine.
It also slapped the FN with a 30,000-euro fine, putting an end to a case brought by French Guiana’s Walwari political party founded by Taubira.
The court went well beyond the demands of prosecutors, who had asked for a four-month jail sentence, five years of ineligibility and a 5,000-euro fine.
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