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Controversial anti-terror law passes hurdle in France


France’s lower house of parliament on Tuesday approved the first draft of a new, controversial anti-terror and security bill, a plan slammed by several rights groups as a threat to civil liberties, APA reports quoting AA.

 

The bill, approved by a 415-127 vote, with 19 abstentions, is still subject to amendments but is expected to be approved by mid-October to replace the state of emergency planned to be put to an end by Nov.1.

 

However, local and international rights groups, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), fear the new law, which grants police exceptional powers, will create a permanent quasi-state of emergency in the country.

 

Under the new law, police could carry out house raids and searches without a warrant or judicial oversight, including at night.

 

It also gives officials extra powers to skip usual judicial processes and place people under house arrest. The bill also allows for restrictions on gatherings and closing places of worship.

 

Analysts from the UN High Commissioner warned last month that France's Muslim population could be discriminated against and disproportionally targeted by the new powers.

 

UN 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".

 

"We are still in a state of war," Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told France Inter radio on Tuesday before the vote. "We have foiled numerous attacks since the start of the year that would have led to many deaths.”

 

Last month, Collomb announced that 12 planned attacks had been foiled since the beginning of the year.

 

Despite the repeatedly extended state of emergency since the November 2015 terrorist attacks, France has been the target of several deadly terror attacks during the last two years.

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