French far-right politician Jean Marie Le Pen fined for racist Roma remarks

Jean Marie Le Pen, the former leader of French extreme-right group the National Front, has been fined €5,000 for suggesting Romanians were “naturally” inclined to steal.

Speaking at a rally in September last year, he said that Romanians “are like birds… they fly (voler) naturally,” French newspaperLibération reported.

The French verb “voler” means both to fly and to steal.

A Paris court ruled that the 85-year-old politician, who is also the founder of the National Front, was guilty of publicly insulting a group of people based on their ethnicity. The prosecution had requested a two year suspended sentence for Le Pen, who recently announced he is running in France’s upcoming municipal elections.

Bernadette Hétier, the co-president of anti-racism group Mrap, told Libération that the verdict “was in favour of Romanian dignity,” and was thankful Le Pen’s conviction “created as much publicity as his remarks when they were made, deeply unfortunately, in 2012.”

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