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French President Hollande seeks three-month extension for state of emergency

General view of the National Assembly during a debate to extend a state of emergency, in Paris, France, November 19, 2015 following the series of deadly attacks on last Friday in the French capital
General view of the National Assembly during a debate to extend a state of emergency, in Paris, France, November 19, 2015 following the series of deadly attacks on last Friday in the French capital REUTERS/Charles Platiau

French President François Hollande will seek to renew the three-month state of emergency, his office said Friday. A state of emergency was declared on 13 November Paris attacks.The state of emergency gives greater powers to police and security services to act without requiring judicial oversight or search warrants.

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Hollande will ask his cabinet on 3 February to approve a draft law to extend the measures for another three months when they expire on 26 February.

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Illustrating the government's position, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told the BBC on Friday that France would "use all means" at its disposal to combat terrorism "until we can get rid of Daesh," an acronym for the Islamic State armed group, which claimed responsibility for the November attacks.

However the state of emergency has drawn sharp criticism from French and UN rights experts and the Council of Europe, who say it undermined democratic principles.

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UN human rights experts said Tuesday the measures placed what they saw as "excessive and disproportionate" restrictions on key rights.

Since they came into force, authorities have carried out thousands of searches but "only a few of them have led to procedures linked to terrorist acts," Council of Europe human rights commissioner Nils Muiznieks said earlier this month.

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