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The Constitutional Council on Friday rejected the essence of a bill aimed at imposing “security measures” on people sentenced to at least five years in prison for offenses linked to acts of terrorism. The opposition relishes yet another snub inflicted on the executive and the majority.
It is a new slap that the Sages inflicted on the majority. Friday, August 7, the Constitutional Council censored the essence of a bill supported by the executive and the deputies La République en Marche (LREM) which was to allow the judicial authority to impose “security measures” to the convicted persons at least five years in prison for offenses linked to acts of terrorism. While it thinks it possible to impose constraints on terrorist detainees leaving prison, the Constitutional Council considers, on the other hand, that these provisions “infringe” several fundamental freedoms. In its decision, the court thus judges that this law “allows the imposition of various obligations or prohibitions (…) which violate liberty to come and go, to the right to respect for private life and the right to lead a normal family life “.
“This is a snub for Yaël Braun-Pivet at the initiative of the law, for the majority but also for Éric Dupond-Moretti, new Keeper of the Seals who supported the law in the Senate. Even if he arrived along the way, he could have convinced his majority to give up, “Jean-Philippe Derosier, constitutional expert and professor of public law at the University of Lille, told France 24.
“A sentence after a sentence”
Many observers believed that the text went to reverse of the convictions of the former lawyer Dupond-Moretti, but vis-a-vis the parliamentarians, the person concerned, become minister, had defended “a solution of balance” and had assured not to have been taken “suddenly of a blinding madness liberticide”.
For its part, the LREM majority defended a text that should protect the French against the “terrorist risk”, while about 150 prisoners sentenced to at least five years in prison for offenses related to terrorism must be released from prison by the end of 2023. But several lawyers and jurists feared the creation of “a sentence after the penalty “, calling into question the principles of the rule of law.
Adopted at the end of July, this bill was to impose on “particularly dangerous” detainees a series of measures, ranging from a ban on appearing in certain places or meeting certain people, to wearing an electronic bracelet, through the obligation to report regularly to the police or to establish residence in a specific location.
Reintegration in question
Without these security measures, is the security of the French in question? “The French are entitled to expect guaranteed security, but not at any cost, believes Jean-Philippe Derosier. Terrorists should not be benched for the rest of their lives. But these measures do not take into account a possible reintegration, comments the one who participated in the drafting of the text of referral tabled by the Socialist Party.The Constitutional Council only sanctioned the disproportionate nature of hazardous measures taken for political purposes to seduce a certain electorate. “
Some consolations all the same for the majority. The Council censored all the articles of the bill, except one: this one concerns the socio-judicial follow-up of ex-detainees for terrorism, once released from prison. In addition, the Constitutional Council has not closed the door to the establishment of security measures, other than those voted by parliamentarians.
The majority will review their copy
Besides, the majority do not intend to stop there. Taking into account the observations of the Sages, the majority announced on Friday its willingness to review its copy. Starting with the co-author of the bill, Yaël Braun-Pivet (LREM). “For the Constitutional Council, these are indeed security measures, not a ‘sentence after sentence'”, commented on Twitter the deputy and chair of the law committee at the National Assembly. “The way to strengthen the monitoring of terrorists leaving prison has been mapped out. My determination to act to protect the French in the face of this threat remains intact.”
The LREM group also remains “convinced of the legitimacy of (the) object” of this text and “will quickly examine the means to achieve it in accordance with the Constitution”, said on Twitter Gilles Le Gendre, the chief leader of the “marchers” in the Assembly.
An unnecessary stubbornness according to Jean-Philippe Derosier, who believes that “the legal arsenal we have already allows for sufficient security. Let’s start by applying the recent laws of 2015, 2016 and 2017 on this subject and give them time to be deployed. The real problem is not in the law, but in its application and the human and material resources available. “
With this decision of the Constitutional Council, the majority and the government endure their second disavowal in a few weeks, after the censorship by the Sages of the Heart of the Avia law against online hatred.