French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen has been given a three month suspended sentence for describing the Nazi occupation of France as 'not especially inhumane'.

Mr Le Pen was found guilty of denying a crime against humanity and complicity in condoning war crimes, over the remarks made in an interview with a magazine in 2005.

The National Front chief was also fined €10,000 for his remarks. Le Pen was not in court to hear the verdict but his lawyer said his client would appeal.

Le Pen told Rivarol magazine that 'in France at least the German occupation was not especially inhumane, even if there were a number of excesses, inevitable in a country of 550,000 square kilometres.'

'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.' he said.

The court ruled that Le Pen 'tried to sow doubt over what may have been committed by the Nazis on French territory, such as the deportation of the Jews or the persecution of Resistance members, both crimes against humanity.'

Rivarol journalist Jerome Bourbon and the magazine's editor Marie-Luce Wacquez were also respectively fined €2,000 and €5,000.

Le Pen, has been convicted of racism or anti-Semitism on previous occasions. In 1987 he described the Nazi gas chambers as a 'detail of history.'