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Tags: France | Patriot Act | terror | attacks

Opposition to a French Patriot Act After Terror Attacks

By    |   Saturday, 17 January 2015 04:05 PM

Many in France are warding off calls for a "Patriot Act" for their own country following the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper offices and a Jewish supermarket, saying such laws violate civil liberties.

France and many other countries in Europe already have strict counterterrorism laws of their own, reports The New York Times.

Valérie Pécresse, who served as a minister under former President Nicolas Sarkozy, suggested a French version of the Patriot Act would allow investigators more authority when it comes to collecting intelligence while allowing further surveillance.

Former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, though, said such "exceptional" measures should not be taken.

"The spiral of suspicion created in the United States by the Patriot Act and the enduring legitimization of torture or illegal detention has today caused that country to lose its moral compass," de Villepin wrote in the French newspaper Le Monde.

François Fillon, the former prime minister under Sarkozy, also said he opposes a Patriot Act for his country.

"No freedom should be abandoned," he said. "I do not support fundamental legislative change [which can] give justification to those coming to fight on our land."

French citizens also would not back their own form of the Patriot Act. Last year, a Pew Global Attitudes poll showed 82 percent of the French respondents disapproved of the United States' monitoring of its own citizens.

The United States is still facing its own issues regarding the law, including settling a lawsuit on Friday from an American citizen who was arrested in 2003, strip searched and held for 16 days because he was a potential terrorism witness.

But while the United States passed its own law quickly, many French experts are urging caution.

"When freedom of expression is under attack through Charlie Hebdo, when Jewish people are murdered because of their religion, when 4 million people take to the streets, shouting ‘freedom, freedom,’ and the government’s first reflex is to create a framework to reduce this freedom, we must warn citizens," said Adrienne Charmet-Alix, the coordinator of La Quadrature du Net, a group that advocates for Internet freedom.

Meanwhile, Europeans are insisting the Charlie Hebdo attacks will not spark the same fears Americans had after 9/11.

The attacks will not be a turning point, said British Prime Minister David Cameron, because most European countries already have their own terrorism laws.

Most recently, France imposed travel restrictions against terror suspects, while increasing penalties against people who make statements supporting terrorism.

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Many in France are warding off calls for a Patriot Act for their own country following the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper offices and a Jewish supermarket, saying such laws violate civil liberties. France and many other countries in Europe already have strict...
France, Patriot Act, terror, attacks
431
2015-05-17
Saturday, 17 January 2015 04:05 PM
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