Following Terror Attacks, Liberal France Passes Harsh Anti-Terror Law

February 11, 2016

2 min read

Its liberal reputation notwithstanding, French parliament voted late Tuesday on a measure which would strip citizenship from those convicted of terror-related offences, AFP reported. The vote took place in France’s lower house, and passed by a narrow margin of 162 to 148, with 22 abstentions.

The controversial measure is one of several proposed by President Francois Hollande following the jihadist rampage on Paris in November which claimed 130 lives. While it has received a great deal of public support, members of Hollande’s own Socialist party stand divided on the issue. In fact, former justice minister Christiane Taubira resigned last month in protest, and Hollande’s former prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has publicly expressed his disapproval.

Among the bill’s supporters were members of former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s right-wing Republicans party and the centrist party UDI party, but Socialist fringe parties and most of the ecologist lawmakers stood opposed.

The measure was only one of those which have already passed before parliament. On Monday, lawmakers voted in favor of enshrining the state of emergency in the French constitution in order to offer more powers to security forces, the other key proposal in Hollande’s package. The current state of emergency was extended Tuesday by three months, though rights groups argue police are abusing their powers. The government maintains that the emergency measures are necessary to protect the country from the growing jihadist threat.

Since November, France has cracked down on Islamist forces and jihadist supporters. Last month, a key French member of the Islamic State (ISIS) was convicted in absentia by a Paris court to 15 years in prison. Salim Benghalem had ties to the Charlie Hebdo attackers who killed 11 people at the satirical magazine.

France continues to be on high alert. Last month, a 15-year-old ISIS supporter of Kurdish origin slashed a Jewish school teacher with a machete in Marseille, later boasting he was “proud” of his actions.

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