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"Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of France’s far right Front National, has been convicted of contesting crimes against humanity for saying the Nazi occupation was not “particularly inhumane”.

A Paris appeals court upheld the three-month suspended prison sentence and €10,000 (£8,283) fine handed to Le Pen in 2009.

Le Pen had told the far-right magazine Rivarol in 2005: “in France at least the German occupation was not particularly inhumane, even if there were a number of excesses – inevitable in a country of 550,000 sq km.”

He added: “If the Germans had carried out mass executions across the country as the received wisdom would have it, then there wouldn’t have been any need for concentration camps for political deportees.”

Aided by the collaborationist Vichy government, German authorities deported more than 70,000 French Jews to death camps during the occupation from 1940 to 1944. Thousands of French civilians died in reprisals by the German army. France has strict laws against denying the Holocaust and contesting crimes against humanity.”