French Senate approves controversial anti-terror bill

Jul 20, 2017 10:01 IST

Lawmakers in France’s conservative-dominated Senate on 18 July 2017 approved controversial legislation to further strengthen France’s anti-terror laws by a majority vote.

The French senators passed the draft bill by a vote of 229 to 106.

The Bill will now be sent to the lower house of the National Assembly for a vote in October 2017.

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Background

The new security laws, a campaign pledge of President Emmanuel Macron, would replace a state of emergency imposed after November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.

Under the state of emergency measures, authorities have the power to place suspects under house arrest, order house searches, and ban public gatherings without the prior approval of a judge.

Under the proposed legislation, some of emergency state practices would become permanent law. It would turn warrantless property searches and house arrests into common police practice. However, the step has been criticised by rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, which have described it as draconian.

However, France’s Interior Minister Gerard Collomb has defended the new bill, referring to it as essential for combating what he described as the “ever present” terror threat.

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