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NATIONALITY

Terrorism: France ‘to scrap plan to strip citizenships’

The French president appears to have backtracked on a flagship plan to strip dual nationals convicted of terrorism of their French citizenship even if they are born in France- a move announced in the aftermath of the November terror attacks.

Terrorism: France 'to scrap plan to strip citizenships'
Photo: AFP

It appears French president François Hollande’s declaration made just three days after terrorists killed 130 people in Paris was a spur of the moment announcement made to appeal to an angry public.

The move to strip dual nationals of their French citizenship was set to be part of a series of measures announced to parliament that would have resulted in a change of the constitution.

But on Tuesday it emerged that the government has decided to drop the move because it was proving a divisive measure, according to reports.

Any constitutional change requires a two-thirds majority in parliament.

But the idea of removing citizenship in cases where an individual, even when born in France, is found guilty of acts that “constitute an attack on the fundamental interests of the nation or… an act of terrorism” is not guaranteed to win enough support.

Several politicians on the left have spoken out against the idea in recent days and even French PM Manuel Valls said “stripping someone’s nationality is not a weapon against terrorism”.

Many on the left criticised the move for being purely symbolic.

Former minister Cecile Duflot saying the measure was “an ideological gift to the National Front”, who along with the right had been demanding France change the law to allow passports to be taken from those who “break from the values of the Republic.”

Now it appears the policy will not make the final cut.

“The Elysée has realised that it will create a schism not just in the Socialist Party but throughout the whole of the left,” said MP Benoit Hamon of the decision to drop the plan.

France already has laws that allow authorities to strip citizenship from those convicted of terrorism offences if they have become naturalized French in the preceding 15 years, but not for those born here..

The government has not been afraid to use them.

In October, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve requested that five “terrorists” be stripped of their
nationality.

And in September a Moroccan-born jihadist was stripped of his French nationality and sent back to his country of birth because he posed a serious threat to national security according to the government.

So without the plan to strip citizenship from those born in France the controversial reform of France’s constitution will only feature the inclusion of new rules on states of emergency.

Hollande announced a state of emergency immediately after the terror attacks.

It was due to last for 12 days but MPs voted unanimously to extend it.

To date, the measure — which gives police the power to carry out raid sand arrests without judicial oversight — has not not featured in the constitution – only in a separate law that has rarely been used.

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NATIONALITY

Woman denied French citizenship for ‘refusing to shake official’s hand’

A woman was denied French nationality after refusing to shake hands with officials during the official citizenship ceremony, it has been reported this week.

Woman denied French citizenship for 'refusing to shake official's hand'
Photo: AFP

The Algerian woman was attending the official ceremony in Isere south east France after her successfully applying for citizenship via her marriage to a French national.

But she “expressly refused to shake hands with the secretary-general of the prefecture and another local official”, according to a case heard by France's highest court the Conseil d'Etat (State Council) that was published on the French government's justice website LegiFrance.

The woman claims her actions at the ceremony in Isère, eastern France in June 2016 were “motivated by her religious convictions”.

The then-prime minister Bernard Cazeneuve opposed the woman’s request for French nationality claiming “her act meant that she could not be considered as integrated into the French community”.

French nationality is not granted until the end of the reception ceremony, or cérémonie d’accueil dans la nationalité française, when a certificate is awarded to the newly-declared French citizen.

During the ceremony, the applicant must “demonstrate their respect of French values”, according to a report in Le Figaro.

“If a foreign citizen shows a lack of integration, the government can reject their request for French nationality, even the day of their French citizenship reception ceremony,” explained lawyer Fayçal Megherbi on the blog Juritravail.

The woman, whose husband is French, opposed the decision, but a legal ruling published on Wednesday 11th April stated that there had been no breach of her religious freedom.

The Conseil d'Etat ruled that the behavior of the woman “revealed a lack of assimilation”, all the more because it had been carried out “in a symbolic moment and place.”

France naturalised 120,000 people in the year 2016, which represented the fourth consecutive year that France has seen an increase in the number of nationalisations.

Around half of these 120,000 passports came via naturalisation, while some 21,000 came via marriage to a French person.

READ ALSO: France naturalises 120,000 new citizens (including hundreds of Brits)

France naturalizes 120,000 new French citizens (including hundreds of Brits)

The Council of State, on April 11, 2018, considered that the behavior of the interested party “revealed a lack of assimilation”, all the more because it had been carried out “in a place and at a symbolic moment” .

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