PARIS (Reuters) - France’s National Assembly (lower house of parliament) will vote to adopt a counter-terrorism bill on Tuesday, including measures to increase police and intelligence agency powers when there is a security threat or reason to believe an attack is planned.
The bill, still subject to amendments but expected to be definitively approved by mid-October, will transpose into law several powers granted to the police and other agencies under a state of emergency that began in November 2015, after the Islamist attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.
The state of emergency, the most sweeping anti-terrorism powers in Europe, will expire at the end of October.
Below is an outline of the measures that will come into force if the bill passes into law. Human rights and legal experts have raised concerns about the sweep of the proposals, including the fact that in some cases the interior ministry would be able to act without judicial oversight.
Under the proposals, the legislation would remain in place until at least 2021, and the government will have to report to parliament annually on how it is using the new powers.
** The interior ministry would have the power to designate public spaces as security zones for up to a month, limiting who could enter and leave (both vehicles and people) and with wide powers to stop and search within the perimeter. Private security guards, under police supervision, would be granted similar stop and search powers.
** The interior ministry would have the power to shut down places of worship if there are suspicions that they are being used to propagate hate speech or incitement to violence, to provoke acts of terrorism or to justify terrorist acts. The closures could be for up to six months, with the religious sites having 48 hours to lodge an appeal with judicial authorities against the decision.
** The interior ministry would have the power to limit the movement of people considered a national security threat. The “individual administrative control and surveillance measures” would compel a person to remain in a defined geographic area, report to the police three times a week, report any change of residence and potentially submit to an electronic surveillance bracelet.
** The interior ministry, with approval from a judge, would have the freedom to search private property and seize documents, objects or goods if there is a suspicion of terrorist activity being planned or to prevent a terrorist act being carried out.
Reporting by Paris bureau; Editing by Richard Balmforth