French court orders Le Pen to submit to psychiatric evaluation

Marine Le Pen furious after being ordered to undergo psychiatric tests

"Of course, I will not go to this psychiatric assessment and I will wait to see how the magistrate intends to force me", she reportedly told BFM TV.

According to a copy of the court order, which Le Pen posted to Twitter on Thursday, the judge wants the evaluation to assess if she suffers from any mental illness and if that could have affected her understanding of what she was doing when she posted the tweets.

She shared the images - including pictures of the killing of the American reporter James Foley - a few weeks after jihadists killed 130 people in attacks in Paris in November 2015.

Leader of France's Rassemblement National (RN) far-right political party Marine Le Pen.

The Paris court today declined to confirm it had ordered the evaluation but said the assessments were a normal part of such probes.

"This country is really starting to scare me".

Le Pen, who has said the case against her is a violation of her freedom of expression, claims the government of France is employing the tactics of defamation that totalitarian regimes use to discredit political opponents in an attempt "to make them look insane".

She then said it was all part government plot to discredit her, even though there is a strict separation of powers between the executive and judiciary in France.

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The 50-year-old leader of the National Rally (formerly National Front), who lost to Emmanuel Macron in last year's presidential vote, was stripped of her parliamentary immunity over the pictures and charged with circulating messages that "incite terrorism or pornography or seriously harm human dignity". Le Pen captioned the images with the words: "Daesh is this!"

Le Pen's ordeal started when a television journalist drew comparisons between Islamic extremists and far right politicians. Le Pen and her party have been the subject of a number of investigations, including over the misuse of European Union funds.

A number of politicians have lambasted the judges' decision towards Le Pen.

Le Pen later deleted the tweet with Foley's body after his family requested the removal.

If convicted, she could face up to three years in prison or a $88,233 fine.

Le Pen has denounced the case against her, which falls under a law punishing violent images that can be viewed by a minor, as a violation of her freedom of expression.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said in a statement he was shocked Le Pen would be ordered to take a psychiatric test.

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