Europe News

Will France ramp up its security crackdown?

Jessica Hartogs, special to CNBC

In the aftermath of the attacks on Paris which left 130 people dead and another 367 injured, France rushed through a raft of emergency legislation aimed at curbing the threat from Islamic fundamentalists.

Three months, and a massive manhunt later, lawmakers are meeting to review the laws and their effectiveness, CNBC takes a look at the options open to France as it continues its battle against the group that calls itself the Islamic State.

Extending the State of Emergency

Peter Nicholls - Reuters

In the hours following the attacks in Paris, French President Francois Hollande declared a State of Emergency, initially for 12 days and then for three months. At the time, the request met very little protest in both parliament and the National Assembly.

However, with it set to expire on February 26, Hollande has asked for a further extension of three months to the end of May. And this time around, the request is being met with resistance, with some questioning its need and whether the extra powers it gives authorities are necessary.

A group of UN human rights specialists has called on France not to extend the state of emergency, warning of "the lack of clarity and precision of several provisions of the state of emergency and surveillance laws," reported the Economist.

The extension, narrowly voted in parliament last week, is supposed to be voted at the National Assembly on Tuesday.

On the same day the Eagles of Death Metal, the band playing at the Bataclan concert hall on the night 90 people were killed by three terrorists, are set to play in Paris again for the first time since the attacks.

The State of Emergency bill dates back to the French-Algerian War of the 1950s, and allows authorities to conduct house raids and searches without a warrant.

It also gives officials extra powers to place people under house arrest outside the normal judicial process and allows restrictions on large gatherings.

Since it was declared last November, BFM TV reports that there have been 3,099 house raids and searches. More than 380 people have been placed under house arrest. Most of the raids and house arrests took place in the weeks after the attacks. In total, at least 500 weapons have been seized-- 200 of which were seized from one person.

Le Monde reported that one person had been charged in connection to terrorism.

French nationality-stripping proposal

Islamic State's strikes in Paris a 'game-changer'

Perhaps the most controversial of the three, a new clause to French law will allow dual-nationals to be stripped of their French citizenship if they are convicted of "crimes that gravely hurt the nation's life."

French law already allows dual citizens who acquired French nationality to be stripped of their citizenship. The only change proposed is to extend this possibility to those born in France, challenging France's droit du sol, or the right to citizenship for those born on its soil.

Although the government, under criticism, amended the bill to remove any reference to dual citizens, it technically can only apply to them as France cannot render any citizen stateless under international law.

For many on the left, the measure is seen as ineffective in preventing terrorist acts and discriminatory towards the majority of dual-citizens in France, most of which have North African origins. In a major blow to the Socialist party last month, justice minister Christiane Taubira resigned in protest of the measure.

Extending powers of security forces

A separate police bill to the State of Emergency is also going through parliament.

The bill would grant security forces extra powers, such as the right to use firearms in situations other than self-defense, reported The Economist.

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