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France: Top left-wing MP Mathilde Panot investigated for pro-Palestine comments

France Unbowed leader says her summoning by police is a first in modern history of the country
National Assembly parliamentary group President of La France Insoumise (LFI) Mathilde Panot addresses a speech as she takes part in a meeting calling for "Peace and Justice for Palestine" in Marseille, on 23 November 2023 (AFP)
Mathilde Panot addresses a Peace and Justice for Palestine event in Marseille on 23 November 2023 (AFP)

French police summoned the leading left-wing MP Mathilde Panot for an investigation into an alleged “apology for terrorism” on Wednesday, in connection with her criticism of Israel’s war on Gaza. 

“We will not be silent. No summons, no intimidation of any kind will prevent us from protesting against the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people,” Panot said in a press release. 

Panot is the leader of the biggest left-wing parliamentary group in the French parliament, France Unbowed (La France Insoumise/LFI), which has been outspoken in condemning the war on Gaza since 7 October.

Panot denounced the investigation as unprecedented.

“It is the first time in the history of the French republic that the head of an opposition group in parliament is summoned for such a serious reason on the basis of fallacious accusations,” she said.

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“The Macronist regime has crossed all imaginable lines,” she added, referring to the government of President Emmanuel Macron.

French authorities last week cancelled two conferences by LFI politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon in Lille, while Rima Hassan, a party member, has been summoned on charges of “apology for terrorism”.

The left-wing For Reunion (Pour La Réunion/PLR) party criticised the measures against Panot as “a worrying authoritarian drift”.

“The PLR is deeply concerned about the justice system being instrumentalised to silence political opponents who denounce the ongoing genocide on Palestinian territory,” the party said in a statement on Wednesday.

A Hamas-led attack on southern Israel on 7 October led to the deaths of 1,170 people.

The subsequent Israeli onslaught on Gaza has so far killed more than 34,262 people, mostly women and children.

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