Europe's rights watchdog warns France over state of emergency

The head of Europe's top human rights watchdog has warned French President Francois Hollande against overreaching executive powers by extending a state of emergency.

In a letter published Monday and addressed to the French president, Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland said he was concerned that expanded executive powers should be balanced with the protection of freedoms.

"I would like to draw your attention to the risks that could result from the prerogatives conferred on the executive by the provisions that apply during the state of emergency if they are not accompanied by appropriate safeguards," Jagland wrote in the letter, dated January 22.

Jagland added that he was concerned about constitutional reforms currently under consideration in France, including the hotly debated proposal to strip citizenship from bi-nationals convicted of terrorism.

Last week, Hollande said he would seek to extend the state of emergency by three months as the country debates whether to write some of the emergency measures into permanent law. The current state of emergency has been approved through the end of February.

France has been in a state of emergency since a series of attacks in Paris on November 13 left 130 people dead and hundreds injured. The initial 12-day state of emergency was extended by parliament shortly thereafter.

Last update: Mon, 25/01/2016 - 19:44

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