French MPs adopt tough anti-terror law

Published 04.10.2017 19:37

France's lower house of parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a new counter-terrorism bill, making permanent several controversial measures in place under a nearly two-year-old state of emergency.

It will allow the authorities to confine suspected jihadist sympathizers to their neighborhoods, close places of worship accused of condoning terror and carry out more on-the-spot identity checks, all without the prior approval of a judge.

The bill was approved on its first reading in the lower house of parliament by 415 votes to 127, with 19 abstentions. It is expected to become law before the state of emergency declared after the 2015 Paris attacks elapses on Nov. 1 after being extended six times.

"We're still in a state of war," Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told parliament Tuesday, warning of a "very serious threat" level. Last month, Collomb announced that 12 planned attacks had been foiled since the beginning of the year.

Since 2012, France has progressively tightened its legal arsenal to tackle terror threats, passing around 10 different laws.

Analysts from the U.N. High Commissioner warned last month that France's Muslim population could be discriminated against and disproportionally targeted by the new powers. U.N. experts said the proposed security measures would "incorporate into ordinary law several restrictions on civil liberties currently in place under France's state of emergency."

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