Le Pen found guilty of Holocaust denial
By Henry Samuel in Paris
Disgraced French far-Right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen was given a three-month suspended sentence on Friday for calling the Nazi occupation of France "not particularly inhuman".
The 79-year-old founder of the National Front party, not present for the verdict in a Paris court, was found guilty of denying a crime against humanity and complicity in condoning war crimes, both violations of France's Holocaust denial legislation.
Mr Le Pen was also fined 10,000 euros
. His lawyer said he would appeal against the sentence, which was below the five months called for by the prosecution.
The charges relate to comments Mr Le Pen made in an interview with far-Right Rivarol magazine in 2005.
The court said Mr Le Pen had sought to "instill doubt" about Nazi persecution of Resistance members and Jews and their deportation.
It also ruled that he had "re-written history" to present the Gestapo in a favourable light, while making no mention of its crimes when referring to a 1944 massacre in the town of Villeneuve d'Ascq.
"The court reproaches my client for not talking about certain episodes. That is impossible to defend," Mr Le Pen's lawyer, Walleyrand de Saint Juste, told The Daily Telegraph.
The veteran leader has been convicted of several other controversial outbursts, but anti-racism organisation MRAP praised the "very heavy" sentence, saying it was very rare to convict someone via the press.
A journalist at Rivarol and the newspaper's head received fines. All three were ordered to pay a symbolic euro to the Sons and Daughters of French Jews association.
The verdict comes as the National Front, which Mr Le Pen will lead for another three years, is facing political and final meltdown.