A Frenchman in line to become a Scottish Nationalist MSP has been criticised for defending Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe's notorious land reform policies.

Christian Allard said Mugabe's land redistribution, when his government forcibly seized farms, was needed, and slammed an award-winning film on the plight of one of the farmers as being "for white people to support white people".

In 1979, Mugabe agreed a land-reform policy which involved buying white people's farms. But in 2000 he began to pursue a strategy of seizing white-controlled land without compensation.

This led to beatings and forced evictions, and has been denounced by Amnesty International as a "corrupt and violent system".

In 2009, Lucy Bailey and Andrew Thompson directed a documentary about farmer Mike Campbell and his son-in-law Ben Freeth as they fought Mugabe's policy in the courts.

A tribunal of the Southern African Development Community ruled the confiscation of Campbell's farm was racially discriminatory, but Mugabe's regime ignored the findings.

The film, Mugabe and The White African, was listed for an Oscar, nominated for a Bafta and was voted best documentary at the British Independent Film Awards.

But in a series of internet postings, Allard savaged the film, saying: "I agree the comments from the dictator are often vile, but so are the comments of Mike Campbell ... Let me be clear, they are men from the past who refuse to accept that Africa is moving on.

"Robert Mugabe and Mike Campbell won't be there for long and every copy of this 'documentary' should be buried with them."

He also wrote: "Mike Campbell, a South African army captain - came to Zimbabwe from South Africa in 1974, in the middle of the guerrilla war against the black majority ... Original Rhodesian white farmers have now all left or have complied with the land reform."

He added: "This 'documentary' was made for white people to support white people to keep hold of the land in Africa."

Allard is set to become a list SNP MSP because MSP Mark McDonald is likely to be chosen as the party's candidate in the coming Aberdeen Donside by-election. If he is, he must vacate his list seat, meaning Allard takes his place.

The documentary's producers, Elizabeth Hemlock and David Pearson, said: "Mr Allard seems to have no concern about the violence directed at the Campbell and Freeth families and [about] the 500 farm workers and their families who lived on the farm.

"The Campbell family were kidnapped and brutally beaten and the injuries sustained by Mike Campbell contributed to his death in 2011."

On Friday, Allard said: "I feel very sorry for the white farmers and what happened to them, but the black majority are suffering more."

However, the SNP press office then provided a statement in his name. It said: "Like every right-thinking person, I abhor the regime of Robert Mugabe and its brutal land grabs. My point is that land reform must always be pursued democratically and consensually."