The French parliament adopts a new strict anti-terror law
(Warning! Links in this post will mainly be to French context)
Earlier today the French parliament adopted a new anti-terror law which have been under way since the London metro attacks in July. The law enables the authorities to carry out more video surveillance in public places as well as it extends the time a person charged under the terrorist law can be held, to six days in custody rather than the former four days.
"Rédigé après les attentats de juillet à Londres, le texte développe la vidéosurveillance (...) Enfin, les peines encourues sont aggravées, tandis que la durée maximale de la garde à vue passe de quatre à six jours en matière de terrorisme."
This new law should seen as a notable victory for the interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy who has long advocated a harder line against potential terrorists. However, given the succes of other anti-terrorist laws which have been enacted in USA and Britain I fear we will have to look closely for an effect. Especially the increased videosurveillance should not be seen as an effective mean to avoid terrorism. It should rather be seen as a way to effectively spot the terrorists after their endeavour and perhaps help track the attacks' mastermind.
The obvious question as with all other so-called anti-terrorist laws being enacted around the Western world is whether it is ok to restrict civil liberties in the name of a war against terror? You can debate this question here at Nouvelobs; in French!
See also this article from the Economist (11.8.05 - Subscription only) for a perspective on anti-terrorism in France and the rest of Europe.
"Europe in general, and France in particular, prides itself on being the birthplace of human rights. Yet the repressive legal armoury in France prompted barely a murmur of liberal protest even before the London bombings. There is little to match public demands in Britain that foreigners who are thrown out must not face ill-treatment at home—French magistrates tend to accept at face value assurances that this will not happen."
Are French politicians forgetting their historical roots with this new law?