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Europe rights court upholds defamation conviction of French author

[JURIST] The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] Monday upheld [judgment, DOC; press release] a 1999 conviction of French author Mathieu Lindon for defamation. In his book "The Trial of Jean-Marie Le Pen," Lindon suggested that France's far-right National Front [party website, in French] leader Jean-Marie Le Pen [BBC profile] bore responsibility for two 1995 murders committed by supporters of his party. Le Pen and the National Front brought a defamation suit against Lindon in 1998, alleging he had committed public defamation against a private individual. The ECHR Monday rejected arguments by Lindon that the eventual defamation conviction against him, in which he was ordered to pay damages to Le Pen and the National Front, violated his freedom of expression.

In July 2006, Le Pen faced trial [JURIST report] in Paris for allegedly denying the brutality of the Nazi occupation of France during World War II. Under French anti-racism laws [text, in French; Wikipedia backgrounder], denying the Holocaust is a crime and carries charges for "complicity in contesting crimes against humanity and complicity in justifying war crimes." Le Pen surprised observers with his strong performance in the 2002 French presidential election [BBC backgrounder]. He ran again in 2007, but finished fourth. Bloomberg has more.

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