French Senate Passes Anti-Terror Law Despite Criticism By Rights Groups

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The French Senate on Wednesday approved an anti-terror law that incorporates some emergency search and surveillance powers into ordinary law.

President Emmanuel Macron’s government says the measures are needed to enable security forces to dismantle terrorist plots once the state of emergency imposed after deadly attacks in 2015 lapses in November.

However, the proposals have been criticised by the national human rights ombudsman, rights groups, and a left-leaning judges’ union.

The Senate passed the law by 229 votes to 106, with the largest opposition party, the centre-right Les Republicans, voting in favour while socialist and communist senators opposed it.

It will now go to the lower house, the National Assembly, where Macron’s centrist La Republique en Marche (The Republic on the Move) has a majority.

The draft law extends into ordinary law current emergency powers allowing the authority to close places of worship where extremist ideas are propagated, restrict the movements of people suspected of terrorist links, and search properties.

Compared to the current emergency powers, the movement restrictions and search powers can only be used in terrorism cases and are subject to judicial authorisation or appeal.

Rights ombudsman Jacques Toubon criticised the proposals, saying they were taking France outside “strict principles of penal law” by allowing restrictions on individual freedom “on the basis of suspicion, behaviour, attitudes, relationships or statements.”

France has been under a state of emergency since November 2015 when Islamic State extremists killed 130 people in a series of coordinated attacks on the Bataclan theatre and bars and cafes in Paris.

Source: LEADERSHIP

 

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