Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of France’s far-right party the National Front, has reportedly gone on trial for homophobic remarks he made in 2017.
The 90-year old politician is on trial for three separate anti-gay comments, including one criticising the husband of a gay policeman murdered in a terrorist attack in Paris in April 2017, according to state broadcaster France 24.
Le Pen is the father of Marine Le Pen, the current president of the National Front, which was recently re-branded as the National Rally.
France 24 reports that Le Pen is not likely to appear at the trial in person because he was hospitalised in September.
In April 2017, Le Pen criticised Etienne Cardiles, the husband of Xavier Jugele, who was shot dead on Champs Elysees avenue, for an emotional public speech he made following his partner’s murder.
“I think this family trait should have been kept away from such a ceremony which would have benefited from more discretion,” Le Pen wrote in a blog post.
Speaking in a video for his YouTube channel, Le Pen, who was president of the National Front from 1972 to 2011, also said: “The long speech he made in some ways institutionalised homosexual marriage.”
He added that the grieving husband’s words “exalted it in a public way, and that shocked me.”
Le Pen, currently an independent member sitting in European Parliament, was kicked out of the party he founded by his daughter in 2015.
The far-right politician is also being sued for comments he made to French newspaper Le Figaro, in which he is reported as saying: “Homosexuals are like salt in soup. If there isn’t enough it’s a bit bland; when there’s too much, it’s inedible.”
The third complaint filed against Le Pen concerns comments he made suggesting a link between gay people and paedophilia in a video on his YouTube channel.
He has previously been prosecuted for anti-semitic comments, including statements that were ruled as amounting to Holocaust denial, and for Islamophobia.