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French president seeks longer state of emergency

23 January 2016 11:17



French President Francois Hollande is set to call on the parliament to extend by another three months the state of emergency put in place after the deadly 2015 Paris attacks.

“Given the terrorist threat, the government would present … a bill extending the state of emergency for a period of three months,” Hollande’s office said in a Friday statement.

The bill would be submitted to the French legislative chamber on February 3, according to the statement.

The measure was adopted after the terror attacks in and around Paris on November 15, 2015. Some 130 People lost their lives and 350 others injured in the assaults claimed by the Daesh Takfiri group.

The state of emergency was initially introduced for 12 days, but it was later extended for three months through an accelerated legislative process. The current state of emergency is due to expire on February 26.

The exceptional measures adopted under the state of emergency give French authorities extra powers to keep people in their homes without trial, search houses without judicial approval and block suspicious websites.

The new measures also include a ban on mass public gatherings and allow officials to dissolve groups inciting any acts that seriously affect public order in France.

In a similar stance, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told the BBC on Friday the country would seek to keep the state of emergency in place until the end of what he called the “global war” against Daesh elements.

The French government’s plan to extend the state of emergency has drawn criticisms from several civil liberties groups.

Earlier this week, the Human Rights League, a Paris-based rights organization, said it had lodged a complaint with France’s highest administrative court to halt the state of emergency.

Furthermore, a group of four United Nations human rights experts said the emergency measures impose “excessive and disproportionate restrictions” on the basic rights of people, urging the French government to protect fundamental freedoms in its anti-terror battle.

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