Marine le Pen attacked for posting images of IS killings

Image source, AFP/Getty Images
Image caption,
The tweets appeared to have been written by Ms Le Pen herself

The parents of an American journalist killed by the so-called Islamic State (IS) have criticised French National Front leader Marine le Pen for tweeting an image of his decapitated body.

Last August, IS released a video of the killing of James Foley, who went missing in Syria in 2012.

Ms le Pen posted images of his killing, and others, in reply to a journalist who compared her party to IS.

The image of Mr Foley was removed on Thursday morning.

Its removal came several hours after his parents called for it to be taken down. However, graphic images of two other killings remain on Ms le Pen's Twitter feed.

"We are deeply disturbed by the unsolicited use of Jim for le Pen's political gain," Mr Foley's parents John and Diane said in a statement.

Mrs Foley told RTL radio that the tweets "add to the family's pain".

Ms le Pen said on Thursday: "I did not know it was a photograph of James Foley. It can be accessed by anyone on Google. I learned this morning that his family has asked for it to be removed and of course I took it down immediately."

Who was James Foley?

Image source, AP
  • He came from the city of Rochester in the US state of New Hampshire
  • Before switching to journalism in the mid-2000s, he was a teacher in Arizona, Massachusetts and Chicago
  • He was captured by Col Gaddafi's forces in Libya in 2011, and was missing for 18 days
  • In November 2012, he was captured in Syria while reporting for Agence France-Press and US media company GlobalPost
  • He was remembered as "a brave and tireless journalist"

Prosecutors in the Paris suburb of Nanterre say they are investigating Ms le Pen for sharing violent images.

The images were posted on Wednesday morning with the statement "THIS is Daesh", using an acronym for IS. The tweets were signed MLP, indicating they were written by Ms le Pen herself.

The far-right Front National leader, who has more than 838,000 followers on Twitter, was replying to comments by television journalist Jean-Jacques Bourdin.

He said the FN and IS shared a "community of spirit" as the militant group wanted to set off a nativist backlash in France.

Mr Bourdin later called her decision to post the images "indecent".

On Tuesday, Ms le Pen was acquitted of charges of inciting hatred on the December 2010 campaign trail in Lyon, France.

The charges related to her comments comparing Muslims praying in the streets to the Nazi occupation of France in World War Two.

Last weekend, her anti-immigration party gained a record number of votes in regional elections.

It led in six of the 13 regions after the first round of voting, though due to tactical voting it did not go on to win any regions in the second round.