French political candidate suspended for gunman support

Coutela was a candidate for the controversial far-right party led by Marine Le Pen (pictured). Photo / AFP
Coutela was a candidate for the controversial far-right party led by Marine Le Pen (pictured). Photo / AFP

A member of France's far-right National Front (FN) party was suspended after penning a defence of Norway attacker Anders Behring Breivik on his blog, the party said Tuesday.

Jacques Coutela, who stood as an FN candidate in local elections in March, "was suspended today pending a party disciplinary committee", FN general secretary Steeve Briois said, describing Coutela as a low-level party member.

On his blog, where he rails against the rise of Islam in Europe, Coutela presents Behring Breivik - the man who has claimed the twin attacks in Norway that killed 76 people - as an "icon" and "the main defender of the West".

Coutela also compares Behring Breivik to Charles Martel, the seventh century military leader who halted Islamic expansion in western Europe.

"The reason for the Norway terror attacks: fighting the Muslim invasion, that's what people don't want you to know", read the post, signed Jacques Coutela read.

Coutela took down the posting after the French Movement against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples lodged a complaint against him for "inciting racial hatred", and on Tuesday denied having written it himself.

"I did not write those things, I found them on the internet and published them on my blog to inform people", Coutela told AFP. He did not condone terrorism, he added, "wherever it comes from, even if it comes from my ideas".

Coutela was a candidate for the controversial far-right party led by Marine Le Pen in local elections in the Yonne department in central France in March. Another FN member, Laurent Ozon, posted several unpopular tweets on microblogging site Twitter on Saturday apparently linking Friday's attacks to a rise in the number of immigrants in Norway.

Ozon told AFP he had not been suspended and that Le Pen had simply reminded him of the party line.

Though it openly opposes immigration, the FN, like other far right parties in Europe, has been quick to distance itself from Behring Breivik.

-AFP

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