France lawmakers vote to extend state of emergency

[JURIST] The French National Assembly [official website, in French] voted [materials, in French] Tuesday to extend the state of emergency for three months to ensure the country is able to respond to impending terrorist threats, despite concerns the bill infringes on civil liberties. Law No 1238 [text, in French] extends Law No. 55-385 of 3 April 1955 [text, in French], which limits the state of emergency to 15 days, gives expansive police power to government officials, and prohibits the movement of residents and vehicles by decree. The concerns over infringement of civil liberties prompted [executive summary, in French] a promise to reduce limits on freedoms and ensure any decrees are subject to jurisprudence.

While it is now necessary to have more time to consolidate the work of targeting and destabilization conducted on the basis of measures permitted by the law of 3 April 1955, the Government intends to limit the extension of the state of emergency to the time strictly necessary for this purpose. This is why it is again proposed to Parliament for a period of 3 months. The effectiveness of the protection of our citizens can not rest in the medium term on the use of these measures that exceptional circumstances warrant. The Government intends to strengthen the means of struggle with the judicial and administrative authorities at all times have to fight against terrorism and organized crime. This is the purpose of the bill strengthening the fight against organized crime, terrorism and their financing, and improving efficiency and guarantees of the criminal proceedings.
The French government declared a state of emergency following the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13. Last week the National Assembly approved a bill [text, PDF, in French] that would strip [JURIST report] convicted terrorists of their citizenship rights. The amendment to the constitution would also grant the president greater power to act in an emergency or terrorist situation. In November French police authorities conducted more than 2,700 raids and enforced 360 house arrests [JURIST report]. In this period, at least 20 complaints were filed against the French government, a majority by the French Muslim population who allege abuse and unfair [STAR report] of Muslims. On November 19 the French National Assembly voted to extend the state of emergency until February 2016. In December more than 100 organizations issued a statement [JURIST report] asking the French government to lift the state of emergency.

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