French far-right leader Marine Le Pen went on trial Tuesday over comments she made five years ago comparing Muslim street prayers to a foreign occupation.
At the end of the hearing, the public prosecutor asked for the case to be dismissed on the basis of freedom of expression. The court’s ruling is expected on December 15.
“I have the right, as a political leader, to evoke a crucial issue and it’s even a duty for me to do it,” Marine Le Pen told reporters when she arrived at the court.
Le Pen, whose popularity is on the rise in France, could face up to a year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros ($51,000). Political experts say she could emerge from the trial even stronger among many National Front voters.