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French Senate gives final approval to anti-terror bill

[JURIST] The French Senate [official website] approved anti-terror legislation [text, in French; legislative materials] in a 202-122 vote Thursday after preliminarily approving the bill [JURIST report] last week. The bill, introduced by conservative presidential hopeful and current Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy [BBC profile] and influenced by the recently enacted British anti-terrorism bill, increases funding for video surveillance of public areas such as airports and train stations, permits government access to private phone and internet records, and lengthens detention periods for terrorism suspects before they are formally charged. Civil liberties groups say the bill implements a police state in France and confuses terrorism with immigration, and the opposition Socialist party has announced that it will challenge the constitutionality of the bill before France's Constitutional Court. Sarkozy has acknowledged that the bill was written in large part as a response to last summer's London subway bombings [JURIST report], and has supported the bill as an adequate response to the changing face of terror. The new bill is the fourth addition to France's already tough anti-terrorism laws since 2001. AFP has more. From Paris, Le Monde has local coverage.

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