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Govt proposes stripping dual national terror convicts of French citizenship

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that the parliamentary debate on the reform proposal will take place from February 3.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that the parliamentary debate on the reform proposal will take place from February 3. REUTERS/Eric Feferberg/Pool

After going back and forth on the issue, the government decided to include the power to strip French citizenship from people convicted of terrorist offences, if they have another nationality.

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There are an estimated 3.5 million French people with a second nationality in the country.

Justice Minister Christiane Taubira had voiced doubts over the citizenship clause and wrongly stated it would be dropped. She said on Wednesday that the final word went to French president Francois Hollande.

The French cabinet on Wednesday also backed reform proposals that could see the state of emergency introduced after last month's Paris attacks enshrined in the constitution.

Click here to read more articles on Paris attacks

Special policing powers used under the state of emergency – such as house arrests and the right to raid houses without judicial oversight – are currently based on an ordinary law which can be challenged at the constitutional court.

In the wake of the Paris attacks that left 130 dead, President Francois Hollande called for the emergency powers to be protected from litigation by placing them in the constitution.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls emphasized its importance by stating that the threat has never been higher.

Speaking to reporters following a meeting of government ministers, he said “We must face up to a war, a war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam.”.

The constitutional reforms must now be passed by a three-fifths majority in the upper and lower houses of parliament, where debates will start on February 3.

Valls said the latest figures showed more than 1,000 people had left France to join the jihad in Syria and Iraq, of which an estimated 148 had died and 250 returned.

“Radicalised individuals from numerous countries join the Islamic State armed group. There are many French speakers and we know that fighters group themselves according to language, to train and prepare terrorist actions on our soil,” he said.

There has been criticism from civil rights groups over the violence of police raids, cases of mistaken identity and people losing their jobs because they were placed under house arrest.

More than 3,000 raids have taken place since the Paris attacks, leading to 360 house arrests and 51 people jailed.

- With AFP

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