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France rules out retention centres for Islamist radicals

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France rules out retention centres for Islamist radicals
A retention centre for radicals? Too dangerous says France. Photo: AFP
16:53 CEST+02:00
France's Prime Minister has dismissed right wing calls to build retention centre for radicalized Islamists, an idea that appeared to be backed by some French Muslim leaders.

Rightwing French lawmakers had called for "retention centres" for radical Islamists after the brutal murder of a policeman and his partner at their home on Monday night by French jihadist Larisso Abballa.

Several right wing politicians want to create centres, dubbed “French Guantanamos”, akin to those where individuals with dangerous mental health problems can be detained.

It came after the government came under fire for not having done more to prevent a double murder, even though Abballa was a known jihadist.

Abballa had been under phone surveillance since February, but nothing indicated he was planning the attack.

While some politicians suggested retention centres out of precaution, others like presidential candidate Alain Juppé said radicalised individuals should be consigned to house arrest.

There are estimated to be 10,000 to 11,000 individuals in France with a "Fiche S" of "File S"to their name which means they are considered a threat to security. But not all because they have jihadist sympathies.

PM Manuel Valls however ruled out the idea of retention centres as "dangerous".

"Our first weapon is criminal law, and it is the legitimacy of the rule of law: to pursue, detain and put out of harm's way all those who engage in these [jihadist] networks"

The PM warned it was “dangerous to confuse measures of surveillance with those of confinement”.

“We can learn the lessons of this terrorist threat but we can't invent new measures each time,” he added.

But the idea of confining all the individuals in France identified as radicalised and a potential threat appeared to win support from one Muslim leader.

Dalil Boubakeur the rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris said on Wednesday that jihadists like Abballa should not be allowed to move around "freely".

"Individuals like this are moving around freely in France. This should not last," said.

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