France top court approves stripping nationality of convicted Franco-Moroccan terrorist News
France top court approves stripping nationality of convicted Franco-Moroccan terrorist

[JURIST] France’s top court, the Conseil Constitutionnel [official website, in French] on Friday upheld [text, in French] a decision from 2013 to strip Franco-Moroccan terrorist Ahmed Sahnouni el-Yaacoubi of his French nationality following a conviction for conspiracy to commit terrorist acts. Sahnouni, a naturalized citizen since 2003, appealed to the Conseil Constitutionnel arguing that while France’s civil code permits the government to strip a naturalized citizen of their nationality, to do so violates France’s Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen [text, PDF]. In a statement [Reuters report], the court wrote, “people having acquired French nationality and those to whom French nationality was given at birth are in the same situation, but that the difference in treatment, which was created to fight terrorism, does not violate the principle of equality.”

The decision comes in the wake of the January 7-9 terror attacks [CNN backgrounder] on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo [official website, in French], which took 17 lives. The rampage was condemned [JURIST report] internationally by the UN Secretary-General, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) [official website]. French police have arrested [JURIST report] 54 people for verbally supporting or threatening terrorist acts in the wake of the terrorist attacks, including four minors and French comedian Dieudonne who is known for his anti-Semitic views. The French Justice Ministry also called on prosecutors to crack down on hate speech, anti-Semitism and support of terrorism. On January 17, The Paris Administrative Tribunal upheld a police chief’s ban on an “Islamists out of France” rally planned for the next day. On January 15, the Spanish High Court ordered [JURIST report] an initial investigation of the time Amedy Coulibaly spent in Spain prior to the attacks in Paris last week. Coulibaly is one of the gunmen associated with the shooting of a policewoman and attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris that left four dead. A day before, a Turkish court banned access [JURIST report] to websites showing the new cover of Charlie Hebdo, which features a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad holding up a sign reading “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) with a headline that says “All is forgiven.”