France adopts new anti-jihadist law

The travel ban included in the law will see suspects have their passports and ID cards confiscated for six months

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France adopted Tuesday an anti-terrorism law which will slap a travel ban on anyone suspected of planning to wage jihad after the upper house Senate gave its final stamp of approval, Agence France-Presse reported.

The travel ban included in the law will see suspects have their passports and ID cards confiscated for six months, with the measure renewable for up to two years.

It also brings in punishment for “lone wolves” who plan terrorist attacks on their own, and allows authorities to block entry to any EU citizen or their relatives if their presence in France constitutes a threat.

The law comes as authorities are increasingly worried about the number of French citizens travelling to fight in Iraq and Syria who could potentially come back and stage attacks in their home country.

But while the majority of senators approved the bill, those from the Green and far-right parties abstained while the Communists voted against it over fears it will curtail freedoms.

“La Quadrature du Net”, a French group that defends online rights, has previously slammed the bill as “unsuitable, dangerous and destructive of freedoms”.

Authorities say more than 1,000 nationals or French residents are involved in one way or another in jihadist networks.

A total of 46 of these have been killed, they say.

European governments have been tightening anti-terrorism laws over the last 18 months as the Syrian conflict enters its fourth year. In June, nine countries agreed to share more intelligence and take down radical websites to try to stop Europeans going to fight in Syria and bringing militancy home.

France has long been a target for Islamist militants because of its record as a colonial power in North Africa and problems integrating its large Muslim minority.

While some grow disillusioned when they arrive in Syria and Iraq, authorities fear that others could become indoctrinated, come home and carry out attacks on home soil.

French national Mehdi Nemmouche, arrested on charges of shooting dead four people in May at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, is suspected to have spent most of last year in Syria, fighting with Islamist rebels.

[With AFP and Reuters]

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