101 arrested on terror charges in France this year
by Daily Sabah with Wires
ISTANBULMay 14, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah with Wires
May 14, 2016 12:00 am
Officials in France have arrested 101 people since the start of the year over "direct links to terrorism," Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in an interview exactly six months after the Paris attacks.
"We are doing everything we can to protect the people of France, but the threat level is still very high," Cazeneuve told the Ebra Media Group, which publishes several dailies. Since 2013 there have been 15 planned attacks that were foiled, he added. "At the European level, thanks in great measure to France's impetus, progress is being made," he said.
European Parliament voted last month to adopt U.S.-style measures to force airlines to share passenger data with EU states. Meanwhile, the interior minister said that border checks had been carried out on 33 million people at France's borders in the past six months, with 17,500 people being denied entry to the country.
When asked about plans to provide security for major events to be held in France in the coming months, Cazeneuve said that "exceptional" measures would be put in place "in order to ensure the highest possible security."
"That's one of the reasons why we extended the state of emergency until July 26; that is, after the end of the Euro 2016 football championship and the Tour de France."
Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Monday announced plans to create regional de-radicalization centers in response to last year's terror attacks that killed a total of 147 people.
After 17 people were killed in January during three days of violence that began with a massacre at the offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hedbo, another 130 were killed in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks.
The government believes nearly 9,300 people in France have been radicalized and are capable of carrying out violent acts.
The anti-terror plan will cost an additional 40 million euros ($45.5 million) by 2018 in addition to the current funding and aims to ramp up existing efforts to try to help people already in extremist networks or to dissuade those likely to join such groups.
A state of emergency in France which was put in place by officials after November's Paris attacks, has been under fire by human rights' groups. The French Human Rights' League (LDH) has criticized the extension, accusing the government of becoming "hooked on the state of emergency."
In February, Amnesty International and Human Rights' Watch (HRW) published two research studies which indicated that the French police apply harsh measures with little explanation and sometimes use excessive force under the state of emergency.
Since the measures were imposed in November, some 3,500 searches have been carried out, resulting in at least 56 suspects being taken into custody and 69 people being placed under house arrest, the government said in mid-April.
Meanwhile, EU countries do not have a common definition of "terrorism" and "terrorist acts," according to a new Justice Ministry report, Anadolu Agency (AA) has learned. The report is based on close examination of the regulations and punishment regarding terrorism, terrorists, and terrorist crimes in EU countries; stemming from recent demands raised by the EU asking Turkey to revise terrorism laws in order to gain visa-free travelling access within the Schengen zone.
Dr. Mehmet Uğur Ekinci of the Turkish-based Foundation for Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) told AA: "The European Parliament extended its definition of terrorism after 2008 when security threats intensified, and added chapters to address such issues as training terrorists and provoking terrorist incidents."