France to clamp down on would-be jihadists with new bill

PARIS- France is set to beef up its anti-terrorism laws on Wednesday to prevent aspiring jihadists from fighting abroad amid concern over the the number of people travelling to Syria.
The new bill, part of which was seen by AFP, includes a ban on foreign travel of up to six months for individuals suspected of being radicalised, and gives authorities powers to temporarily confiscate and invalidate their passports.

Airlines will be banned from carrying targeted passengers and will have to notify French authorities the moment one of them makes a reservation.
If they do manage to go abroad, they will be the subject of an international arrest warrant.
The ban would be decided by the interior minister himself and could be extended as long as is necessary, the proposed bill says. It can apply both to adults and to minors.
The French government is deeply concerned about the radicalisation of its nationals after hundreds of citizens have gone to fight with jihadists in Syria.
According to official estimates, around 800 French nationals or residents -- including several dozen women -- have travelled to Syria, come back from the conflict-ridden country or plan to go there.
Authorities are concerned that those who come back will engage in deadly acts of violence like the shooting at the Brussels Jewish Museum in May that left four people dead.
Frenchman Medhi Nemmouche, who spent a year fighting in Syria, was arrested in connection with the incident.
In a separate case, they have also deported a Tunisian accused of recruiting young jihadists to fight in Syria.
The proposed bill also provides for tighter legislation against online recruitment, including asking Internet service providers to block access to sites "that provoke acts of terrorism or praise them" -- modelled on existing rules against child pornography sites.
It will also allow investigators to use pseudonyms to enter pro-jihadist sites.
The law would also be tightened to make individuals planning terrorism on their own a punishable offence, aimed at those identified by authorities as "lone wolves".
Current legislation targets those who associate with a group suspected of planning or staging terrorist acts.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve will unveil the bill at Wednesday's weekly cabinet meeting.

Wednesday, July 9th 2014

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