Con­tro­ver­sial French anti ter­ror bill clears hur­dle

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

A con­tro­ver­sial bill to toughen France’s se­cu­rity laws cleared its first hur­dle late Tues­day when the con­ser­va­tive-dom­i­nated Se­nate ap­proved the leg­is­la­tion by a ma­jor­ity. Sen­a­tors backed a first read­ing of the bill by 229 votes to 106, mean­ing the text will now be handed to the lower house, the Na­tional Assem­bly, for de­bate in Oc­to­ber. The new laws-a cam­paign pledge of Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron-will re­place a state of emer­gency im­posed af­ter the Novem­ber 2015 ter­ror at­tacks in Paris that left 130 peo­ple dead. Un­der the state of emer­gency, au­thor­i­ties have the power to place peo­ple un­der house ar­rest, or­der house searches and ban pub­lic gath­er­ings with­out the prior ap­proval of a judge. The mea­sures were ex­tended for a sixth time on July 6. Some of them will be­come per­ma­nent un­der the pro­posed law, a move rights groups in­clud­ing Amnesty In­ter­na­tional and Hu­man Rights Watch say is dra­co­nian. In­te­rior Min­is­ter Gerard Col­lomb de­fended the bill, say­ing it was nec­es­sary to com­bat the “ever present” ter­ror threat. “We want to come out from the state of emer­gency, but we can’t do so with­out counter-ter­ror­ism con­trols in place.” —AFP

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