How patriotic are the French
One year after the attack on the satirical magazine by Islamist bombers Charlie Hebdo French Prime Minister Manuel Valls called on his compatriots to adopt a "new patriotism" in the fight against terrorism. "Unity and security are imperative," wrote Valls in a guest post for the magazine L'Obs.
The Social Democrat protested against criticism from his Socialist Party (PS), which accused the government and President François Hollande of shifting to the right on questions of internal security.
France's left is outraged that Hollande has taken up an originally right-wing idea: French people who have been convicted of terrorists and who have a second citizenship should be demonstratively expatriated. In addition, a bill was announced on Wednesday that - often without judicial review - would allow police and prosecutors more controls and arrests.
The most spectacular proposal of the planned law would empower police officers and gendarmes with an "emergency clause" to shoot faster: Immediately after a murder, the officers should be allowed to use their weapons, for example, to specifically incapacitate fleeing violent criminals. In addition, the law enforcement officers would be granted impunity in the future. So far, the service weapon may only be fired for self-defense or to protect citizens who are in immediate danger.
The legislative reform would tend to lay down a number of rules that so far only apply in the context of the current state of emergency. However, this state of emergency expires at the end of February. In the future, even in the absence of an emergency, in the event of a suspected terrorist threat, the order of the prefect - i.e. the highest representative of the central government in departments and regions - should be sufficient to allow nightly house searches, the control of cars or luggage at train stations. Until now, this at least required an order from a public prosecutor.
For the first time without judicial approval, the so-called IMSI-Catcher should be used in the future. This state-of-the-art interception technology intercepts all cell phone calls, e-mails and electronic communication in the vicinity of suspects. Previously, such eavesdropping required the consent of an examining magistrate.
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