France drops plan to strip attackers of citizenship

Civil rights groups strongly criticised proposal to revoke citizenship from people convicted of deadly attacks.

French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech on constitutional reform and the fight against terrorism at the Elysee Palace in Paris
The reforms were pursued by the French government after last year's Paris attacks [Reuters]

France President Francois Hollande has said he will stop pursuing a set of constitutional reforms, including a proposal to strip those convicted of “terrorism” of French nationality.

The reforms would have enshrined some security measures implemented under the state of emergency more permanently. Emergency law was enacted after the Paris attacks in November in which at least 10 people died.

“Parts of the opposition have been hostile to a revision of the constitution. I deplore this attitude,” Hollande said after a weekly cabinet meeting. “I have decided to end this debate.”

Civil rights groups had strongly criticised the proposals, and international organisations raised alarm over the effects of France’s security crackdown.

While the government’s version was meant to apply to any French person, the Senate sought to address the fact that stateless persons cannot be expelled from the country, by restricting the law to those with dual nationality.

Critics say that would have created two categories of French citizens – those that could have their citizenship revoked and those that could not – something that they said could fuel racial tensions.

The reforms, pursued aggressively by Hollande and his government after a series of attacks in Paris in November left 130 people dead, also prompted former Justice Minister Christian Taubira to resign in protest.

The initiative had divided politicians and caused months of heated discussions on what critics said was an inefficient and purely symbolic measure.

Hollande’s plan to insert into the constitution the rules for a state of emergency was also abandoned.

The clause for confiscating passports hit a dead end last week after the opposition-controlled upper house of parliament approved a different version from the one adopted by the Socialist-controlled lower house earlier.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies